Virat Kohli is a local favourite in Bengaluru for his association with Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2023 since 2008.
Bengaluru: After travelling in eight different cities, the Virat Kohli juggernaut has finally landed at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, his home for the last 16 years. A local boy due to his association with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, local favourite, Kohli, was seen tonking sixes at will, on the eve of India’s last ODI World Cup 2023 league match against the Netherlands on Sunday. Hosts India have already qualified for the semifinals and will likely face New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium next Wednesday.
In a video that went viral on social media, Kohli was hitting Shardul Thakur out of the park while also taking a defensive approach against Ravichandran Ashwin.
— Ishan Joshi (@ishanjoshii) November 10, 2023
The former India captain has been India’s top performer with the bat so far with 500-plus runs in eight matches so far in the tournament, including two centuries. The right-hander also equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries during his 101 not out against South Africa in Kolkata.
The Kiwis are primed for a last-four match against India in Mumbai on November 15 on the back of 10 points and a superior run-rate than their closest contender Pakistan. The immediate goal in front of Kohli might be disposing of Netherlands, but with due respect.
One of the challenges the Black Caps will pose to Kohli will be through Lockie Ferguson. The express pacer is yet to fire as he did in the 2019 World Cup, partially because of a right Achilles niggle.
Pacer Shardul Thakur and the side-arm specialists bowled an array of bouncers at Kohli and he had little difficulty in smoking several of them away, some shots travelling as far as the second tier. The 35-year-old also attempted a couple of ramp shots, which might prove handy against a bowler like Ferguson who can hit north of 150 kmph.
The second testing point for Kohli might come in the form of Mitchell Santner’s left-arm spin. It is no secret that the Indian star does not boast of a fine record against that type, often getting in tangles. In the past, left-armers like Keshav Maharaj, Shakib Al Hasan and Dunith Wellalage had success against Kohli.
It is highly likely that Kohli will face Santner in the middle-overs against whom he averages just 9.33 across 17 matches while getting dismissed three times. Even if one takes recent numbers, Kohli’s struggle against left-arm spinners is quite evident. Since January 2021, Kohli averages just over 13 against them and strike-rate dwindles to 66.
So, it was no real surprise to see Kohli perfecting his craft against left-arm spin while facing Ravindra Jadeja at nets, who also managed to elicit a couple of false shots from the Delhiite. However, it was clear that Kohli has already measured in his mind the possible danger areas that he might have to traverse on the big day.