Unsettling Stat Throws Open Debate Over Virat Kohli's Intent In T20 Cricket
Royal Challengers batter Virat Kohli scored a 46-ball 55 against Delhi Capitals. In contrast, Phil Salt hammered 87 runs off 45 balls in the same match.
Is Virat Kohli right to back the role of an 'anchor' in T20 cricket? Though the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) stalwart is among the top run-getters in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, his strike-rate has left both fans and experts scratching their heads at times. As Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered a 7-wicket defeat at the hands of Delhi Capitals on Saturday, Kohli's intent became a big talking-point once again. Now, a stat has emerged which suggests that the RCB batter's take on the role of an 'anchor' might not be all right.
After Virat scored a 46-ball 55, at a strike-rate of 119.57, the franchise reached a total of 181 runs. Batting second, the Delhi Capitals chased down the target of 182 runs in just 16.4 overs, with Phil Salt scoring a 45-ball 87.
Facing almost the same number of balls as Kohli, Salt displayed what attacking intent at the top could really do to a team's total.
In fact, it has now emerged that whenever Kohli has scored a half-century in IPL at a strike-rate of under 120, RCB have lost the match.
Occasions when Virat Kohli scored a fifty at SR of under 120:
- 52 (44) v KKR, 2016
- 55 (48) v RPS, 2017
- 50 (43) v CSK, 2020
- 58 (53) v GT, 2022
- 55 (46) v DC, 2023
Even if Kohli's overall strike-rate is looked at, since the 2020 season, his season strike-rate has been above 120 only once (in the ongoing IPL 2022 campaign).
Not too long ago, Kohli termed the importance of strike-rate 'over-rated' as he stressed how valuable anchors, even in shortest format of the game.
In a chat with Robin Uthappa on Jio Cinema, Kohli had said: "Yeah for sure (important anchor role). I completely agree with that, There are many people who because they have not been in that situation themselves, they look at the game differently."
"Suddenly when the powerplay is done, they will be like 'oh, they have started rotating the strike'. When you haven't lost a wicket in the powerplay, usually the best player comes on to bowl, you are trying to figure out what to do against him in the first two overs, so that you can get big ones in the last two overs of that guy and then rest of the innings become much easier," he added.
Kohli's response is said to have come as a reply to the criticism he had received by former New Zealand cricketer-turned-commentator Simon Doull.
“Kohli started off like a train; he was going hammer and tongs, playing a lot of shots. From 42 to 50, he took ten balls. Concerned about a milestone. I don't think there's room for that in this game anymore. You've just got to keep going, especially with wickets in hand at that stage. You've got to keep going,” Doull said on-air during RCB's match against Lucknow Super Giants in this IPL.
Though there's no denying that status Virat Kohli holds in world cricket, it's also true that the evolving nature of the T20 format does seem to be leaning in favour of batters with a higher strike-rate than those 'taking the game deep'.