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Kohli: 'I've brought out the slog-sweep to counter spin'

Kohli and RCB captain Faf du Plessis credit "honest conversations" in the dressing room for their turnaround after six successive losses

The sweep has been a key scoring option for him to counter spin, especially in the middle overs this IPL, Virat Kohli has said.
After disrupting Gujarat Titans' spin trio of Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad, and R Sai Kishore with the sweep in Ahmedabad earlier this season, Kohli relied on that shot once again to pick off runs against wristspinner Rahul Chahar and all-sorts spinner Liam Livingstone.
On Thursday in Dharamsala, the slog-sweep and the slog, according to ESPNcricinfo's logs, was responsible for 26 of the 92 runs he had scored off 47 balls at a strike rate of 195.74 against Punjab Kings. That shot and its variant opened up other scoring options too for him. He had been dropped on 0 and 10, but Kohli kept batting with high intent to lead Royal Challengers Bengaluru to 241 for 7, which proved 60 too many for PBKS.
"I've brought out the slog-sweep to the spinners (laughs). I just mentally put myself in that situation and I didn't practice it at all," Kohli said after winning the Player-of-the-Match award. "I know I can hit it because I've hit it a lot in the past. So, I just felt like I need to take a bit more risk and for me that shot was something that I used to hit regularly back in the day. And that's allowing me to hit off the back foot as well because I'm always looking to expose that side of the field against the spin.
"For me that has been a massive factor in this IPL. So, I think it just takes a bit more conviction and take out that thought that props up: 'what if you get out'. I've been managing to stay ahead of that thought in this IPL and that's really helped me in the middle overs in this IPL, keeping my strike rate up and keeping the scoring rate going for the team as well."
Kohli's knock set RCB for their fourth successive win, which kept them in the race for the playoffs. RCB had been stuck in a rut when they lost six games in a row after having beaten PBKS in their second match of the season and first at home.
They've changed their personnel and found a winning formula for both home and away games. Kohli said that the one-run defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, where Lockie Ferguson was run-out off the last ball, was the turning point of their campaign. RCB had almost chased down 223 against one of the form teams of the tournament.
"The only way to go through a long tournament is to be absolutely honest with yourself," Kohli said. "We were just not good enough in the first half of the tournament. [It's] precisely why we are in a situation again where so many factors have to go our way. We won the second game of the season and then we had those losses on the trot. A couple of close games but still we were outplayed in most of them."
"We just had an honest chat in the change room. That's not good enough. Playing at this level, we need to pull up our socks and be a bit more brave with the ball and bat. The starting point was Kolkata, where we came out and bowled like that in the powerplay and kept hunting for wickets in that game. It went down to the wire and that gave us a belief that this is the cricket we want to play and it came to a point where we said 'you know what don't look at the [points] table and play for the self-respect we have as cricketers'. We have gone through so many hardships and such a long journey to be at this level. So, we can't just go out and play in a way that doesn't make yourself proud and the fans well. They turn out in huge numbers and we just can't keep disappointing them like that."
RCB captain Faf du Plessis echoed Kohli's comments and credited his batters and bowlers for finding a way to keep up with the pace of cricket in this IPL.
"I think we've scored 200-plus in the last five-six games," du Plessis said. "Really the method and aggression has been good to see. We had some really good conversations halfway through the season where we felt like we were making the same mistakes over and over again. We changed a bit of the method in the way we approach the game and aggression with the bat was certainly one of them.
"You can see the game has changed and the method has changed. You can't just play normal T20 cricket anymore. Then, with the ball we didn't get much wickets in the powerplay. So we just spoke about how do we get more wickets in the powerplay, so we changed a few members. So, if you look at our attack, we have six-seven options. So, that has worked really well."