Royal Challengers v South Australia, CLT20, Bangalore October 5, 2011

'The best T20 match of my life' - Kohli

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One of the allures of the Champions League Twenty20 is the chance it gives for the little guy on the big stage. None of the obscure domestic cricketers grabbed the opportunity as dramatically as 25-year-old Arun Karthik. He thwacked the final ball of the match over midwicket to conjure a preposterous win, which took Royal Challengers Bangalore through to the semi-finals, and set off on a memorable chest-thumping celebration. That will be the abiding image of Royal Challengers' victory over South Australia, and perhaps of the league phase of the CLT20.

There was another moment to define the game though. It was in the 13th over of the chase, in the middle of an audacious counterattack by Virat Kohli and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Kohli punched the air angrily after drilling a full toss to long-off for a single. After completing the run, he chastised himself and practised the off-drive again. Annoyance at missing out on a hit-me ball is one thing, but Kohli had missed out on the fourth ball of the over after striking the first three for six, six and four. It was that sort of a match, where no amount of runs seemed enough.

Kohli had played a couple of blinders for the Royal Challengers in the CLT20 last year, and was second only to Chris Gayle in amassing runs in the IPL this season, but this 36-ball 70 ranks as his finest Twenty20 innings. There were several challenges to deal with in this high-pressure must-win game: no IPL team had ever beaten an Australian side in the CLT20, only a handful of times had a target in excess of 200 been successfully hunted down, and finally Gayle, the man whose form has closely mirrored that of the Royal Challengers this year, had been dismissed relatively cheaply.

After Gayle and Dilshan had provided the initial thrust, Kohli came out and utterly dominated the high-octane century stand with Dilshan, which kept the chase on course. Of the first 74 runs of the partnership, Kohli's contribution was 61, a big chunk of which came off his favourite Twenty20 stroke - the inside-out lofted drive in the arc stretching from long-off to deep extra cover. There were dabs past third man for four, hard-run twos after tucking the ball softly towards the deep, and no ugly across-the-line heaves were attempted.

By the time Kohli was dismissed, the pair had taken Royal Challengers to 165 for 2, with an eminently gettable 50 needed off the final five overs. "We were pumped up, to want to play like me and Dilshan did, you need some sort of adrenaline," Kohli at the post-match press conference, with the sound of the Royal Challengers celebrating still being heard. "I was really excited since we were hitting the sixes at the right time and probably the best T20 match of my life."

Still to complete the job after Kohli's dismissal, Royal Challengers needed some amazing hits and most of their batsmen delivered. Saurabh Tiwary bludgeoned Tait for a 99-metre six over long-on, Mayank Agarwal pummelled his first ball over the extra-cover boundary, Daniel Vettori flicked one way beyond midwicket, and S Aravind played an immensely courageous scoop in the final over for four. Despite all that, it came down to nine off three balls, at which stage Kohli says he lost hope.

"I didn't (think we could win)," he said. "I was sitting with the coach and we needed seven off two, and I told him, 'coach if we get four off this ball, and two off the last ball, just run, I think we are going to make it,' when we got a single, I just closed my eyes, and said coach whatever happens, happens."

Then came Karthik's moment of magic, and the crowd went berserk. The Royal Challengers were also delirious, mobbing Karthik, who couldn't stop bouncing up and down after the match-sealing six. Kohli, an animated presence in the dug-out since his dismissal, charged out and was the first to pluck some stumps as souvenirs. "None of us can still believe that, especially since it was a quarter-final for us, to be able to play like that was a team's delight, a coach's delight, a player's delight, all in all a wonderful experience."

Royal Challengers may have emphatically proven they can win without Gayle turning in a headlining performance, but their shoddy fielding and toothless bowling remain a cause for worry. For their fans and the team, those concerns can wait for another day as they savoured a famous win.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY ajayrcs on | October 7, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    And one of the worst of my life. This match showed India does have some worst pitches in the world. Indian pitches are death bed for Fast bowler. Thats why we don't have good fast bowler. By worst i mean its not very competitive.

  • POSTED BY ibbani on | October 6, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    Kohli need to control his temper firstly. He is viewed as the replacement to No3 which the GREAT WALL occupied for most of the 12-13 yrs before he recently retired and was ignored for 2 years before selecting to the English tour. If he is calm and watchful as Dravid, Sachin and Dhoni, he could well be a role model. except for Yuvi, Bhajji, Sree none of them really showed this kind of emotions.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | October 6, 2011, 13:48 GMT

    It was a magnificient chase concluding in the last ball winning Six.After Tait pulled off the rug from under the feet of RCB with 3 wickets in one over, it was great to see the last over fight back from the tail enders.The big 3 - Gayle, Dilshan & Kohli - came out swinging and set the table with some smashing hits all over thefield. Kohli was brilliant with his strike rate of over 160.It was a great fight back into the semis after the RCB was 0-2 with 2 games to go. It caused bitter frustration to the Redbacks who wouldhave topped the group with this win - but instead ended up at the bottom with a loss.Can RCB go all the way remains to be seen. They definitely need at least one other good bat to back up the Big 3 + one good bowler to control runs.Aravind was poor at best in bowling!. If Kohli can reproduce the same form against the England team in the ODI's it will be fantastic for India.Good Luck RCB - win the next 2 games.

  • POSTED BY Yevghenny on | October 6, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    it was a fantastic game of cricket. Some great innings, and what an ending! Especially after that Tait over. It seems the standard of Champions league is far above the IPL, and this is why I believe the IPL should be rethought and have the champions league a truly global domestic t20 competition.

  • POSTED BY jasonvoorhees2019 on | October 6, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    EVERYBODY SAYING Kohli should concentrate on playing for india . well he scored a century in england and was pretty good there. he did well in south africa as well as west indies odis. he had admittedly a poor start in tests but then again give him opportunities and he will do well. it was the bowling that let india down in england(and also many series before that).

  • POSTED BY addictoster on | October 6, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    RCB vs SAR's last game : it is known as T-20 ..

  • POSTED BY boris6491 on | October 6, 2011, 10:13 GMT

    What a fantastic cricket game. For all this T20 as well as Champions League bashers, try and leave that aside and appreciate what a well contested, exciting game of cricket we were treated to. The match really did have everything you could want out of a T20 fixture and again displayed to the world what an immense talent Virat Kohli is. I hope he can take this form into the upcoming ODI series against England.

  • POSTED BY Leg_Spinner-77 on | October 6, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Gayle did well by showing the RCB players the right motivation for the game after South Australia scored a lot of runs. No doubt that Kohli played a fantastic innings and Karthik did an awesome job scoring the six on the last ball. Its a shame that RCB won though, I'm Aussie xD.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Fantastic knock by Kohli. Proved yet again that he is tailor made for the limited overs version of Cricket... A long long way to go for him to perform well in tests.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | October 6, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    I must admit that after South Aust scored 200+ runs, I had given up hope of RCB chasing that target down. It must have been a superb match to watch and gave the growd some good cheer. The whole of RCB team played like a team. Tait's bowling was great, I dont know how a talent like his is lost in Aust. team. Kohli was great but he needs to reign in his temper. I know he is a hard competiitor. Arvind's bowling is not great. He is in the Indian team vs England.

  • POSTED BY ajayrcs on | October 7, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    And one of the worst of my life. This match showed India does have some worst pitches in the world. Indian pitches are death bed for Fast bowler. Thats why we don't have good fast bowler. By worst i mean its not very competitive.

  • POSTED BY ibbani on | October 6, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    Kohli need to control his temper firstly. He is viewed as the replacement to No3 which the GREAT WALL occupied for most of the 12-13 yrs before he recently retired and was ignored for 2 years before selecting to the English tour. If he is calm and watchful as Dravid, Sachin and Dhoni, he could well be a role model. except for Yuvi, Bhajji, Sree none of them really showed this kind of emotions.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | October 6, 2011, 13:48 GMT

    It was a magnificient chase concluding in the last ball winning Six.After Tait pulled off the rug from under the feet of RCB with 3 wickets in one over, it was great to see the last over fight back from the tail enders.The big 3 - Gayle, Dilshan & Kohli - came out swinging and set the table with some smashing hits all over thefield. Kohli was brilliant with his strike rate of over 160.It was a great fight back into the semis after the RCB was 0-2 with 2 games to go. It caused bitter frustration to the Redbacks who wouldhave topped the group with this win - but instead ended up at the bottom with a loss.Can RCB go all the way remains to be seen. They definitely need at least one other good bat to back up the Big 3 + one good bowler to control runs.Aravind was poor at best in bowling!. If Kohli can reproduce the same form against the England team in the ODI's it will be fantastic for India.Good Luck RCB - win the next 2 games.

  • POSTED BY Yevghenny on | October 6, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    it was a fantastic game of cricket. Some great innings, and what an ending! Especially after that Tait over. It seems the standard of Champions league is far above the IPL, and this is why I believe the IPL should be rethought and have the champions league a truly global domestic t20 competition.

  • POSTED BY jasonvoorhees2019 on | October 6, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    EVERYBODY SAYING Kohli should concentrate on playing for india . well he scored a century in england and was pretty good there. he did well in south africa as well as west indies odis. he had admittedly a poor start in tests but then again give him opportunities and he will do well. it was the bowling that let india down in england(and also many series before that).

  • POSTED BY addictoster on | October 6, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    RCB vs SAR's last game : it is known as T-20 ..

  • POSTED BY boris6491 on | October 6, 2011, 10:13 GMT

    What a fantastic cricket game. For all this T20 as well as Champions League bashers, try and leave that aside and appreciate what a well contested, exciting game of cricket we were treated to. The match really did have everything you could want out of a T20 fixture and again displayed to the world what an immense talent Virat Kohli is. I hope he can take this form into the upcoming ODI series against England.

  • POSTED BY Leg_Spinner-77 on | October 6, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Gayle did well by showing the RCB players the right motivation for the game after South Australia scored a lot of runs. No doubt that Kohli played a fantastic innings and Karthik did an awesome job scoring the six on the last ball. Its a shame that RCB won though, I'm Aussie xD.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Fantastic knock by Kohli. Proved yet again that he is tailor made for the limited overs version of Cricket... A long long way to go for him to perform well in tests.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | October 6, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    I must admit that after South Aust scored 200+ runs, I had given up hope of RCB chasing that target down. It must have been a superb match to watch and gave the growd some good cheer. The whole of RCB team played like a team. Tait's bowling was great, I dont know how a talent like his is lost in Aust. team. Kohli was great but he needs to reign in his temper. I know he is a hard competiitor. Arvind's bowling is not great. He is in the Indian team vs England.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    @vinayespn the 22yr old kholi cant be the best just in this era , just because he scored in one club match.. if he is performing in test matches in highest level , he can showoff.. and that too not so much as he does now,... and surely bhajji , sreesanth and yuvaraj dont do so much showoff likehim when they were his age... Greatness lies when others talk about our skill , rather than showing off..

  • POSTED BY Rahul_78 on | October 6, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    Give me Champions League anytime over sub standard IPL.

  • POSTED BY vinayespn on | October 6, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    @Jaijo: Kohli is still a kid and he does make gestures after playing shots which very few 21yr olds can play in this era.. after all, his gestures are nothing compared to the ones his seniors make in the Indian team i.e Yuvi, Sreesanth, bhajji n others.. as long as he is performing consistently, there is nothing to worry!!

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    i honestly believe Kohli should not consider these club class matches seriously, he should focus more on international ones be it Test or ODIs. many youngsters like kohli are taking IPLs,CLTs more serious than representing INDIA, however talented may he be, but its a waste when he goes after wealth.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 8:09 GMT

    whatever... i just want all these performance during national duty which is more more important that gives us pride than money making clt20...

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    He is a good player on Indian pitches which dont produce a lot of bounce and swing. But during England and West Indies tours, he couldnt deliver when it was really required for Team India. Playing an innings for the club / IPL will obviously pay him more dividends than for the country. Such a shame that the youngsters today are getting rich in no time and ignoring the country for the same reason.

  • POSTED BY Mob_King on | October 6, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    I don't know why people say the RCB bowling is tatters, sure they've bled runs due to some lack of form this CLT but otherwise they have D. Vettori and D. Nannes -- two of the highest-rated and best-performing T20 bowlers out there.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    Kholi played a brilliant innings, but it balances out his attitude... what does he want others to think about him?? aggressive??? he making a mess of himself... Showoff guy.. If he becomes future India captain, God save our team... :)

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    Kohli, great innings. Chirs Gayle who was dropped by West Indies, is showing his wares. Great player. When he was out for 26, we really wished Kohli and Saurabh Tiwary will take RCB home, a tribute to Gayle. And they did it. Do not stop here. We want you to win the Championship. Congrats and best wishes.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    I saw the last ball.. i was saying to my family. this kid des not have the power to hit a six and was dejected.. how wrong i was .. Arun karthik u just made me swallow my words

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    this was d best t2o match i have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thanks & congrats RCB for superb performance..............

  • POSTED BY SanjivAwesome on | October 6, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    Kohli is an occasional talent who likes playing for the cameras. There are many show ponies like him in our country. Still, congratulations are due to him for his performance today - it was truly incredible. I predict however that he will flop in the next game.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    @spartan.prasanna, if raina plays half as gud as he plays 4 csk, in th comin series, it'll do all of us gud.. n i think it to be suffice if dhoni learns how to bat half as consistently as virat..

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    The whole team has to be congratulated for a team effort..the best T20 match that I have ever seen. Kohli is definitely the player for the future who could step into the shoes of the legends with comparative ease as opposed to others..but his attitude leaves a lot to desire...I just dont understand as to why he has to swear when he has taken a catch. The same goes to many of the others as well like Bhajji, Yuvi, Gambhir, Rohit Sharma etc..these players lack the basic decency as shown by Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag & Dhoni. You dont have to scowl & shower the opponent with expletives to prove that you are aggressive

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | October 6, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    kohli's batting reminds me of michael clarke. what a ridiculous game this was, two great young batsmen playing brilliantly in kohli and ferguson

  • POSTED BY kas_kas on | October 6, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    that was some t20 game loved it

  • POSTED BY anver777 on | October 6, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    Not only to Kholi, most of the cricket lovers will surely agree that, so far this is the best ever T20 match witnessed.............this match will be remembered for a long time like Miandad's last ball six in Sharjah !!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Mr Kohli i agree yo played one of the great innings in T20 but i would love to see you climbing in joy by winning more mathces our county INDIA..not just for club...and lets not get away ..reminf\d you once more TEST cricket is the real form of cricket which i think u still are a baby to test cricket ....play more test cricket and be a proper crickweter....

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    fantastic ings by both kohli and tilli....but kohli probably shows off way too much.... no doubt hez a good batsman but probably needs to get his attitude right..otherwise he will suffer in the long run

  • POSTED BY shrastogi on | October 6, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    One is happy at fact that an IPL team has beaten an Australian side. But however good the pitch may be or ground being of smaller size to give away more than 200 runs and then score them shows bowling of both sides in poor light. To give away 69 runs in 4 overs for a front line bowler is ridiculous and I've my doubts of playing Aravind as first choice in the first two one day internationals. Now that euphoria of last ball win is over RCB would have to seriously think about their bowling if they want to progress further. Though runs are coming mainly from top three batting seems to be alright. NSW has a decent attack and can defend 200 runs. Mumbai if bat well would start as favourite in the tie against Somerset.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    compliments on an excellent innings from virat...he certainly has emerged to be one of the mainstay batsmen in the indian team...n for a long time hasnt lost form unlike his peers...just hope u are able to continue ur form n do well for urself n ur country

  • POSTED BY AjitNarayan on | October 6, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    Yep, Kohli is arrogant, but he has the skills to back it up. A great innings.

  • POSTED BY Jaijo on | October 6, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    Agreed Kohli played one of the best innings in T20. But sometimes he plays to the cameras with his animated gestures both on and off the field. Maybe he wants to give the picture of an aggressive player who can be considered future captain. But not all are liking his attitude

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Congrats RCB for a huge win....

  • POSTED BY spartan.prasanna on | October 6, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    if kholi show this in coming india england series, i think it will be good for cricket india and future

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 3:16 GMT

    If there ever would be a scripted Hollywood story on cricket, destined to be a blockbuster, this is it!! It had everything, a century, 5 wicket haul, dominance from the opposition, early demise of the quintessential hero (Gayle), emergence of the protagonist (Kohli) and a last ball six!!!

  • POSTED BY D.S.A on | October 6, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    Typical. The player of the match was obviously Daniel Harris, not because he scored the most, but because it was the best crafted innings. However, they give it to the poster boy of Bangalore & India. In a neutral area, it would have been Harris.

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  • POSTED BY D.S.A on | October 6, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    Typical. The player of the match was obviously Daniel Harris, not because he scored the most, but because it was the best crafted innings. However, they give it to the poster boy of Bangalore & India. In a neutral area, it would have been Harris.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 3:16 GMT

    If there ever would be a scripted Hollywood story on cricket, destined to be a blockbuster, this is it!! It had everything, a century, 5 wicket haul, dominance from the opposition, early demise of the quintessential hero (Gayle), emergence of the protagonist (Kohli) and a last ball six!!!

  • POSTED BY spartan.prasanna on | October 6, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    if kholi show this in coming india england series, i think it will be good for cricket india and future

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Congrats RCB for a huge win....

  • POSTED BY Jaijo on | October 6, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    Agreed Kohli played one of the best innings in T20. But sometimes he plays to the cameras with his animated gestures both on and off the field. Maybe he wants to give the picture of an aggressive player who can be considered future captain. But not all are liking his attitude

  • POSTED BY AjitNarayan on | October 6, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    Yep, Kohli is arrogant, but he has the skills to back it up. A great innings.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    compliments on an excellent innings from virat...he certainly has emerged to be one of the mainstay batsmen in the indian team...n for a long time hasnt lost form unlike his peers...just hope u are able to continue ur form n do well for urself n ur country

  • POSTED BY shrastogi on | October 6, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    One is happy at fact that an IPL team has beaten an Australian side. But however good the pitch may be or ground being of smaller size to give away more than 200 runs and then score them shows bowling of both sides in poor light. To give away 69 runs in 4 overs for a front line bowler is ridiculous and I've my doubts of playing Aravind as first choice in the first two one day internationals. Now that euphoria of last ball win is over RCB would have to seriously think about their bowling if they want to progress further. Though runs are coming mainly from top three batting seems to be alright. NSW has a decent attack and can defend 200 runs. Mumbai if bat well would start as favourite in the tie against Somerset.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    fantastic ings by both kohli and tilli....but kohli probably shows off way too much.... no doubt hez a good batsman but probably needs to get his attitude right..otherwise he will suffer in the long run

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Mr Kohli i agree yo played one of the great innings in T20 but i would love to see you climbing in joy by winning more mathces our county INDIA..not just for club...and lets not get away ..reminf\d you once more TEST cricket is the real form of cricket which i think u still are a baby to test cricket ....play more test cricket and be a proper crickweter....