Sun, 03 Dec 2023

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], May 22 (ANI): Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) head coach Sanjay Bangar said that Virat Kohli had a niggle during the match against Gujarat Titans (GT) but it is nothing serious.

Shubman Gill's century outshined Virat Kohli's classic knock of 101 runs to help GT beat RCB by 6 wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.

In the 15th over, Virat took a stunning catch to dismiss Vijay Shankar, who had just scored a half-century and put GT in the driver's seat during the run chase of 198. Virat looked in discomfort and seemingly it was his knee that took some damage. After the physio arrived, he went to the dugout and watched the rest of the match from there.

"Yeah, he had a bit of a niggle in his knee. But I do not think there is anything serious. Having scored two back-to-back hundreds within a gap of 4 days, he is somebody who not only wants to contribute with the bat but even when he is fielding. He did a lot of running around. 40 overs a couple of days ago and today, for 35 overs he was on the field. He was giving his best. So it is going to bother at some point but I don't think it's anything serious," Bangar said after the match at a press conference.

Virat's red-hot form and fitness are extremely important for India this year as they are set to play the World Test Championship final against Australia from June 7. Later, the Asia Cup and a 50-over World Cup in India are also coming up, where Virat's presence is a must for Team India, which is looking for a major trophy under Rohit Sharma's captaincy.

In 14 matches of IPL 2023, he has scored 639 runs at an average of 53.25 and a strike rate above 139. He has scored two centuries and six fifties this season, with best score of 101.

On the form of the team's designated finisher Dinesh Karthik this season, Bangar said, "Dinesh Karthik had an outstanding season in the last IPL. But in this IPL, he is just did not click. He always wants to contribute to the team's cause and success. But he did not click this time."Last year, Karthik played the role of finisher/accelarator for the team, scoring 330 runs in 16 innings at an average of 55.00 with a fifty and a strike rate of over 183.

However this time, he could score only 140 runs in 13 innings at an average of 11.67 and a strike rate of over 134. His best score this season was 30.

Put to bat first by GT, RCB posted a total of 197/5 in their 20 overs. Opening the batting, Virat Kohli had a 67-run opening stand with skipper Faf Du Plessis (28 in 19 balls). Useful cameos came from Michael Bracewell (26 in 16 balls) and Anuj Rawat (23 in 15 balls) as well. But it was Virat who stood tall with his second straight century of the season, his seventh overall. He scored 101 in just 61 balls, consisting of 13 fours and a six.

Noor Ahmed (2/39) was the pick of the bowlers for GT. Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami and Yash Dayal took a wicket each.

In the chase of 198, GT lost Wriddhiman Saha early, but a 123-run stand for the second wicket between Shubman Gill and Vijay Shankar (53 in 35 balls, seven fours and two sixes) brought them back into the game. RCB attempted to make a comeback with some wickets towards the end, but Gill hit the match-winning runs to bring up his second successive IPL ton as well. He scored 104 in 52 balls with five fours and eight sixes. GT chased down the target with five balls to go.

RCB end their campaign in sixth position with seven wins, seven losses and a total of 14 points. GT will be playing CSK in the first qualifier on Tuesday.

Gill clinched the 'Player of the Match' for his knock. (ANI)

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