'Just singles, singles and singles': Sunil Gavaskar's tough digs at Virat Kohli

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) registered their first win in a month since their victory against Punjab Kings on March 25 in Bengaluru. On Thursday, the Faf du Plessis-led team defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by 35 runs to stay afloat in the playoff race. However, the debate over Virat Kohli's strike rate has once again intensified despite half a century of support for the winning cause.

The former skipper notched his third half-century this season and was involved in a valuable 65-run partnership with Rajat Patidar, who made a notable contribution of 50 runs off just 20 balls. But Kohli's strike rate, 118.60, became a major talking point, especially after the Powerplay when he slowed down his pace.

Kohli raced to 32 off his first 18 balls, slowing down considerably to get 19 off his next 25 balls. This drop in strike rate left Sunil Gavaskar furious and he expressed his disagreement on air.

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“It was just singles, singles and singles from Kohli. There is [Dinesh] Karthik to come; There is [Mahipal] Lomror to come. You have to try to take some risks now. Look at Patidar. He had already hit three sixes. If he wanted, he could have taken a single or left the ball for a wide. But no, he took the chance because the opportunity was there,” Gavaskar said during an on-air commentary.

“This is the approach that RCB now needs. Yes, Kohli played and missed; it's not easy, because when you're in your shell, you're just working on those, and all of a sudden, logging in isn't going to be easy. But that’s what Kohli needs to do; you have to try. He has to try big shots, no,” he added.

This was Kohli's fourth consecutive IPL half-century in Hyderabad in which he hit 37 balls and didn't hit a boundary for 9 overs. He was eventually dismissed by Jaydev Unadkat, who was playing his 100th IPL match. After Patidar's blazing knock, Cameron Green's 37 off 20 pushed RCB to 206/7, a total enough to prevail over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Gavaskar felt that Kohli lost his touch after a certain point, which led to a drop in his strike rate.

“In the middle, he just seemed to have lost touch. I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but I think between 31 and 32 until the time he came out, he didn't hit a limit. So ultimately when he's out as you face the strike on the first ball of the inning and you get out in the 14th or 15th, you have a strike rate of 118, that's not is not what your team expects from you,” Gavaskar added.

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    first publication: April 26, 2024, 09:33 IST

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