Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - That IPL 2016 final is one game that still hurts: Virat Kohli. Kohli scored 973 runs in IPL 2016 but RCB fell just short in the finals against SRH.
Kohli scored 973 runs in IPL 2016 but RCB fell just short in the finals against SRH.
In an 207-game IPL career featuring many lows amid the highs, Virat Kohli has stated that the final of the 2016 season was one that hurt to date. Royal Challengers Bangalore had made two IPL finals before, in 2009 and 2011, but went in to that summit clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad as heavy favourites given they were playing at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, their home ground.
They had also made the final through the sheer heft of their batting, which featured several highlights from AB de Villiers, KL Rahul, Chris Gayle and Kohli's own record-breaking season. In a chase of 209, RCB had even reached 114/0 at the half-way mark of the chase before losing their way and falling eight short.
“That game, I felt like it was written,” Kohli told the RCB podcast. “How could the finals be in Bangalore, and we played that kind of season, and we play that kind of a game where we are 100 for no loss in nine overs. Even KL, to this day, if there's a highlight package running, he takes a screenshot and says it still hurts. It does. You had these dejected faces sitting in that amazing victory setup that we had done for the post-victory celebration. There was no music and we had such a big setup. I wouldn't say it was our day. That is one game where I feel like it hurts.
“It disappoints me. We had opportunities where we came close. At the end of the day, I am not going to call it luck. The opposition is there to play as well and if they are better on the day, you have to accept it that we haven't been as courageous or as clear in our plans as we should have been in those crunch moments. You could say that the odds were stacked against us – the only expectation was for us to win – but you have to deal with those. You can't run away from that.
“That season was unbelievable. That was so amazing in a way that you have four guys performing at their peak game in, game out – which is so rare to see in T20 cricket. We just got on a roll where we were like fine ‘if we are not doing well in the season, we could still make it'. The belief never went away which is really difficult to create. That happened very, very naturally that season. KL also agrees that his career graph changed after that.”
Kohli, who stepped down as RCB captain at the end of last season after eight years at the helm, is the only cricketer to have played for one franchise through the entirety of IPL's history. The former India captain revealed that he had offers from other franchises to put himself in the auction.
“I've been approached a few times as well – to come into the auction somehow – I have thought about it,” Kohli said. “At the end of the day, a person lives a certain number of years, and then you die and life moves on. There have been many great players who have won trophies and things like that but no one addresses you like that. If you are a good person, people like you and if you are a bad guy, they stay away from you. Eventually, that's what life is all about.
“The loyalty with RCB, like how I follow my life, is far greater than five people saying you've finally won the IPL with XYZ. You feel good for five minutes and then the sixth minute you could be miserable with some other issue in life. What this franchise has given to me in the first three years, and believed in me, is the most special thing. There were many teams who had the opportunity. They didn't back me and they didn't believe in me.”
RCB's faith in Kohli has not wavered since. “I remember we were playing the Champions League in South Africa and Ray Jennings and Siddharth Mallya approached me, said that they were looking to retain only me, and that they were looking to build a whole new squad around me,” the former captain said about being given the captaincy in 2013.
“I said that's great, and that's the opportunity I am looking for. I told them very clearly there's only one condition that I will bat at No.3 and nowhere else. They said fair enough. I knew I can do something special for the team. I had no problem accepting the responsibility.
“The first three years in the IPL, I always had the belief that I could do something special. I felt like the composition of the team, while they were amazing players, and rightly so in the right positions, I was not able to play in the position that was my strength.
“For the first 3 years, it was on and off, a performance here and a performance there. It was not as free-flowing and consistent as I would have liked it to be. I was playing No.3 for India, and I was not getting to do it for RCB in the IPL. It was a bit of a strange situation for me, because I felt like I could replicate my India performances here and maybe better.”