IPL 2023: Kohli’s ton eclipses Klaasen’s special as RCB close in on playoff spot

Toby Marshall
20 May 2023
Kohli Virat

In the 65th match of IPL 2023, Royal Challengers Bangalore secured an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad. RCB successfully chased down a target of 187 runs, reaching the target in 19.2 overs. Leading the charge was Virat Kohli, who played a scintillating innings of 100 runs off 63 balls.

Faf du Plessis played a significant role in the match, contributing with a solid innings of 71. Earlier, SRH posted a total of 186/5 in 20 overs, thanks to an impressive century by Heinrich Klaasen. Klaasen scored 104 runs off just 51 balls, featuring eight fours and six sixes.

Wayne Parnell and Mohammed Siraj started off the innings for RCB with a tight opening spell, putting Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi under pressure. In his very first over, Michael Bracewell dismissed both batsmen, making the powerplay a disappointing phase for SRH.

However, Heinrich Klaasen arrived on the scene and immediately went on the attack. He unleashed a barrage of boundaries against the RCB bowlers and reached his fifty off just 24 deliveries, showcasing his counterattacking skills and rescuing the SRH side once again.

Unfortunately, Aiden Markram’s supporting role consumed 20 balls for only eighteen runs, which proved costly for SRH. Despite a late surge from Harry Brook, which included some powerful shots, it couldn’t compensate for the missed opportunities by the other batsmen. Klaasen, on the other hand, continued his phenomenal innings and reached his hundred with a six in the penultimate over, maintaining a strike rate of over 200!

Kohli confidently played an outswinger from Bhuvneshwar, driving it for a boundary. In the next delivery, he showcased his skills by playing a back-foot drive over cover-point, bringing the crowd to their feet. Even when Abhishek’s part-time left-arm spin was introduced, Kohli continued to dominate, hitting him for consecutive boundaries.

In this chase, where net run rate played a crucial role, the pitch had quickened up, and although the SRH bowling attack wasn’t extraordinary, it was refreshing to see Kohli maintaining his aggressive approach during the middle overs. By the end of the powerplay, he had scored 29 runs off 19 balls. When the spinners tried to create a quiet period, Kohli disrupted their plans with a slog-sweep against the turn of a left-arm spinner.

Long before their remarkable 171-run partnership concluded, Kohli and du Plessis achieved the highest-ever partnership for an opening pair in IPL history. Du Plessis notched up his eighth half-century of the IPL, with the last three coming in consecutive matches. Kohli, on the other hand, reached his seventh half-century of the tournament.

Author Toby Marshall