"I know my name is now attached to just promoting the game in different parts of the world when it comes to T20 cricket" - Virat Kohli 

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli had some strong words after his match-winning exploits for RCB

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) batter Virat Kohli played a match-winning knock of 77 runs off 49 deliveries in the franchise's first home game of the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) season against the Punjab Kings (PBKS) on Monday, March 25.

The former skipper played a vital role as RCB chased down 177 after losing Faf du Plessis, Cameron Green, Glenn Maxwell, and Rajat Patidar for underwhelming scores. He was aggressive in the powerplay and showed intent in the middle overs against the spinners and Kagiso Rabada to push RCB closer to the target.

Just as he was about to switch gears heading into the death overs, he was dismissed by Harshal Patel. However, his efforts did not go in vain even though he failed to finish off the run chase in trademark fashion. Dinesh Karthik and impact player, Mahipal Lomror, stepped up with crucial cameos to get RCB over the line and claim their first win of the season.

During the post-match presentation, Kohli took a sly dig at those who feel that his brand value overshadows his contributions on the field.

"I know my name is now attached to just promoting the game in different parts of the world when it comes to T20 cricket. I've still got it, I guess," Kohli said.

With the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States of America only a couple of months away, and the ICC's desperation to propel and market the sport in uncharted territory, Kohli's selection in the World Cup squad has been termed inevitable and essential.

However, on the flip side lies the emergence of youngsters in the Indian setup across the past two years, during the timeframe where Kohli has just played two T20Is. His batting position, his form, his IPL campaign, and every other possible avenue will be taken into consideration before the final call is made.

Kohli also spoke about his innings, which saw a bit of a boost, particularly in the middle overs, an area he has had trouble with in the past.

"I try to give the team a blazing start, but if wickets fall you have to assess. Wasn't the usual flat pitch. Disappointed I couldn't finish the game. Was in the slot but sliced it to deep point. They know I play the cover drive well, so they're not going to allow me to hit gaps. You have to come up with a game plan here and there," Kohli said.

Although far from perfect, Kohli tried to be proactive against Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar. However, in his defence, he had to protect his wicket considering the rest of the batting unit crumbling around him during the run chase.

"Couldn't have been more grateful to God for the opportunity to spend time with the family" - Virat Kohli

Tthe IPL marks Kohli's return to competitive cricket after a two-month absence. He missed the entirety of the home Test series against England as he became a father for the second time.

Kohli spoke about the experience of being away from the cricketing world and spending time with his family.

"Just to feel normal for two months - for me, my family - it was a surreal experience. Couldn't have been more grateful to God for the opportunity to spend time with the family. It's an amazing experience to just be another person on the road and not be recognised," Kohli concluded.

With his match-winning fifty, Kohli is now the Orange Cap holder of the 2024 IPL after scoring 98 runs in two matches, overtaking Sam Curran in the process.

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