Royal Challengers Bangalore's Virat Kohli celebrates his century during the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, in Hyderabad on Thursday | Photo: ANI
HYDERABAD: Virat Kohli smashed a sublime century and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Faf du Plessis continued his run of supreme batting form in their team’s all-important eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.
Heinrich Klassen’s superb 104 off 51 balls went in vain as Kohli (100) and du Plessis (71) cracked a brilliant 172-run opening stand that motored Bangalore to 187-2 with four balls to spare.
Klassen’s maiden century in T20s singlehandedly anchored Hyderabad to 186-5 with Harry Brook adding the second-best score of 27 not out off 19 balls.
The win shot Bangalore to No. 4 in the points table with 14 points and raised its hopes of going through the playoffs with its last league game against already qualified Gujarat Titans still in hand.
It was the first game in the history of the IPL where centuries were scored from either side with Kohli’s sixth hundred in the world’s lucrative domestic cricket league overshadowing Klassen’s dominant performance.
“Quite special (hundred) considering the magnitude of the game,” Kohli said. “I don’t give myself enough credit sometimes for playing impact knocks, I take pride to play the situation.”
Du Plessis was the aggressor of the two in the powerplay as Hyderabad's pace and spin couldn’t get through the defenses of the two Bangalore batters, who are now among the top four in IPL this season.
Hyderabad came close to dismiss du Plessis on 41 when Mayank Dagar took a brilliant diving catch only to see Bangalore going for a successful television review against Nitish Kumar Reddy’s second bouncer of the over, over shoulder height.
Kohli, whose hundred included his trademark cover driven boundaries, settled the game in Bangalore’s favor when he smacked Hyderabad’s best bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-48) for four boundaries in the 16th over.
He whipped Kumar for a six over mid-wicket in the fast bowler’s next over to raise his century off 62 balls as he raised his hands in jubilation with a big smile on his face. Kohli fell off the next ball after hitting 12 fours and fours sixes when he holed out in the deep with Bangalore just 15 runs away from victory.
Du Plessis became the first batter this season to break the 700-run barrier with his eighth half century that featured seven fours and two sixes, but followed Kohli into the dugout while going for a big shot against T Natarajan.
Earlier, Klassen picked up the lengths of the spinners quickly in his dominant century, hitting eight fours and six sixes. Bracewell picked up two wickets in the space of his three deliveries to reduce Hyderabad to 28-2 in the fifth over before Klassen did the bulk of the scoring, especially against spinner Karn Sharma (0-45) and Shahbaz Ahmed (1-38).
Klassen fell soon after reaching his hundred when he was deceived by Harshal Patel’s slow yorker and was clean bowled in the penultimate over.