IPL 2021: Life comes a full circle for King Kohli

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on April 18, 2021
Virat Kohli is has grown in stature and has inked his name among the pantheon of greats in the game.— Twitter

A moment for Kohli to mark the occasion

As the Royal Challengers Bangalore squared off against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai on Sunday night, life came a full circle for RCB skipper Virat Kohli.

Thirteen years to the day, it not just marked the inaugural match of the Indian Premier League, a league that would go on to become the richest and the most popular cricket league in the world, but also Kohli’s IPL debut.

That day in 2008 saw a young gun, all of 19, walk out in the cauldron of the IPL. He might have not troubled the scorers, making just one, coming in at No.3, and it was a match to forget as RCB floundered in their chase of 223, all out for a paltry 82.

But since then, Kohli has grown in stature and has inked his name among the pantheon of greats in the game. Kohli is now perhaps the benchmark for other cricketers and the 32-year-old Indian captain reflects the ethos and the philosophy of a brave and fearless Team India.

That day in 2008 didn’t go as hoped but on Sunday at the Chepauk, it unravelled as Kohli wanted, with RCB getting a bit of a revenge for that summer night at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

A clinical performance saw RCB run out 38-run winners against KKR and the victory saw the Bangalore franchise remain unbeaten in three matches and regain the top position from reigning champions Mumbai Indians.

And Kohli, who is the top run scorer in the IPL with 5949 runs from 195 matches and 187 innings, with five centuries, 39 fifties, 512 boundaries and 201 sixes, took a moment to mark the occasion.

“What a special evening, today. 3 out of 3 wins & my debut for this amazing franchise 13 years ago, on this day. Thank you to each one of you for your love & support. Red heart

@RCBTweets” Kohli posted on his social media handles, after the match against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Kohli, who was handed the RCB captaincy in 2013, also has the most runs in a single IPL season with him racking up 973 runs in the 2016 season, when the franchise went the distance before losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight runs in the final. He was in scintillating form and that season also saw Kohli fire four hundreds and seven half-centuries, that was studded with 83 boundaries and 38 sixes. He also made his highest score of 113 against Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings). Kohli’s fifth century had come against KKR in the 2019 season.

Meanwhile, that night in 2008 saw then New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, who would later go on to play for Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Lions and RCB, usher in the IPL with a swashbuckling century. Opening the batting, the tattooed McCullum blasted 158 from 73 deliveries with 13 sixes and 10 boundaries.

"It's been good and that was a long time ago. It's the next stage of my life as a coach and I'm enjoying helping out the young guys,” said McCullum, who is now the coach of KKR.

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