Hyderabad, May 19: After scoring a fantastic century and leading Royal Challengers Bangalore to a thumping eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in an IPL 2023 match, Virat Kohli hit back at his critics saying "I don't care what anyone says on the outside".
Though Virat has scored more than 500 runs in the ongoing season, his strike rate came under severe criticism. Post his 46-ball 55 against Delhi Capitals that came in a losing cause, questions were raised over Kohli's batting approach and his ability to bat at an acceptable rate.
On Thursday in Hyderabad, however, Kohli quashed all doubts in style by hitting his first IPL ton (100 off 63 balls) in four years to put RCB in pole position to make it to the playoffs.
Chasing 187 to win, Virat looked in fine touch right from the beginning and kept his foot on the accelerator throughout his innings. He stitched a massive opening partnership of 172 runs with Faf du Plessis as RCB chased down the target with four balls to spare.
"I don't give myself enough credit sometimes because I put myself under so much stress already. I don't care what anyone says on the outside. That's their opinion. When you're in that situation yourself, you know how to win games of cricket. I've done that over a long period of time. It's not like when I play I don't win games for my team. It's playing the situation that I take pride in," said Kohli at the post-match presentation
"I've never been a guy who plays so many fancy shots -- was having a chat with Aiden as well. We have to play 12 months of the year. For me it's not about playing fancy shots and throwing my wicket away. We've got Test cricket (coming up) after the IPL, have to stay true to my technique. When I can make an impact in an important game, it gives me confidence, it gives the team confidence," he added.
RCB needed to win against SRH to keep their playoff hopes fully alive and have their fate in their own hands, so Kohli claimed that his knock was 'special'.
"Quite special considering the magnitude of the game. Thought SRH got a very good score. Ball was gripping as well. We wanted a good solid start. Didn't expect to be 172/0. But that's how well Faf and me have played this season. Faf's been on a different level. I've had a quiet couple of games. The way I was hitting in the nets wasn't transitioning into the middle in the last 2-3 matches," the former RCB skipper said.
"Wanted to make an impact and my intent was to go after the bowlers from ball 1 - something I've done through the season. There was a dip but I wanted to pick my game up at the right time. Never look at past records (not great numbers against SRH). Was telling the boys - the way I'm looked at as an IPL player as well is like 'yeah, he's fine, few impact knocks'. It's my 6th IPL hundred," he added.
The 34-year old batter also thanked the crowd and his supporters for cheering him and RCB
"Crowd here was amazing today as well. Told Faf as well. Just felt like it was a home game for us. They were cheering for us, taking my name as well. I feel you can't create this," said Kohli.
"I haven't forced anyone to follow me or be inspired by me. I'm just myself on the field. I do everything on the field very honestly and I think that resonates with people. It's an amazing position to be in that you can provide happiness to so many people. That's something I love to see when they have a smile on their face when I perform," he added.
With the victory on Thursday, RCB moved to fourth spot in the points table and boosted their playoff chances. They will face Gujarat Titans in their last league game at the Chinnaswamy on Sunday.