Why IPL 2016 is crucial for Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir

first_imgAs we step in the second week of the ninth edition of Indian Premier League the race for batting supremacy is slowly heating up. It has been a dull season so far with plenty of one-sided games but batsmen with their never-ending hunger for runs are trying to add value to an otherwise uninspiring season so far.Virat Kohli is once again making heads turn. After his glorious World T20 run, he is  doing what he did in the last few months , this time donning red.  However, the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper is having a small but interesting battle with his own teammate, superstar batsman AB de Villiers.  The two have combined forces and have been a nightmare for the opposition. In the first game against Sunrisers, they put on a 157-run stand and boxed out Warner’s team. Kohli matched De Villiers with every stroke he played. (Full IPL 2016 coverage )They stitched one more century stand against Delhi Daredevils on Sunday.  Once again it was Kohli, who led the show for Bangalore. This time it was a 49-ball 78.  However, a special effort from Delhi’s Quinton de Kock, who scored his maiden IPL ton, broke the hearts of the loyal, loud Bangalore fans. Bangalore will not be deterred after Delhi stunned them as long as their main men keep piling up runs.When Kohli is in this kind of form, the format hardly matters. He has achieved almost everything in the international circuit. However, Kohli seems to be irked by the fact that Bangalore have consistently languished at the bottom of the table despite having firepower in IPL. This season though, their skipper seems to be determined to make best use of splendid form and influence his team’s success.advertisementOn the other hand, the out-of-favour India batsman Gautam Gambhir is proving a point or two to the critics who ruled him out. The left-handed batsman tops the batting charts with 192 runs from three matches so far. There is nothing phenomenal when a Shikhar Dhawan or a Rohit Sharma piles up runs. However, the case is different with the Delhi batsman. Looking at the batting performances of Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir it seems the man is on a mission.At the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament, which proved to be the gateway to India’s World T20 unit, Gambhir, who led the Delhi unit, managed only 108 runs from nine matches at a shoddy average of 12. The 50-over domestic tournament – Vijay Hazare Trophy – also didn’t go well for the opening batsman. Again after the nine outings in the tournament, his numbers read 183 at an average in the early twenties.And when Gambhir scored a 41-ball 38 in Kolkata’s nine-wicket win in their opening encounter against Delhi Daredevils, the batsman was quick to acknowledge the importance of time he spent in the middle. “I was playing after a long time, so I’m happy to get some runs under the bag against a quality attack.”Gambhir made sure there were no hiccups in Kolkata’s chase against Delhi in the low-scoring affair.In the second game, he was looking confident. Early in the innings, Mumbai Indians pacers troubled him with deliveries going across the left hander. Southee nearly brought back the memories of Gambhir’s horror away tours when he got one to take the edge of his bat. Gambhir had poked at it, just the like the numerous times he did in England against James Anderson and Stuart Broad that led to his axing in 2012. Gambhir was lucky enough the ball landed short of Mumbai wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel.The Kolkata skipper buckled up and played yet another solid knock at the top. Stitching a century stand for the third wicket, he smashed a 52-ball 64 on Wednesday. He went on to equal David Warner’s record of most number of IPL half-centuries (27).And in the next match against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, he went past Warner’s record and took his tally to 28. This time, Gambhir was at his elegant best. Against one of the best attacks in the tournament, he single-handedly took his team past the line.  He was free-flowing, bringing back memories of his glorious past. He danced down the wicket and slapped the pacers to the off-side boundary. He didn’t hold back against one of the most promising young pacers – Mustafizur Rahman.Gambhir is showing the hunger for runs. He is showing the determination to stay at the crease till the final ball is bowled. All that Gambhir would want to do now is keep scoring runs and make a strong case for himself. Another IPL title can do wonders to his chances. You never know, Shikhar Dhawan struggling to put bat to ball. Just saying.advertisementlast_img