Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar expects Virat Kohli to produce a match-winning century for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL 2022 Eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Wednesday (May 25).
Kohli has endured a poor IPL 15 campaign so far, amassing 309 runs from 14 innings at an average of 23.77 and a strike rate of 117.93.
However, the veteran batter gave a glimpse of his old self in RCB’s last league match against the Gujarat Titans last week. In what was a must-win encounter for Bangalore, Kohli stood tall for his side and smashed a classy 73 off 54 balls to help his team overhaul GT’s target of 169 with 8 wickets in hand and as many deliveries to spare.
“Virat Kohli is the greatest player ever of the modern era, no question about it. He is a great guy; people troll him unnecessarily. His form dropped and the trolling began. When you started playing cricket, you wished to become part of the Indian team and serve Indian cricket. Tonight, a similar big opportunity is in front of him,” Akhtar said while speaking to SportsKeeda.
“Do not worry. You just have to go and smash them and show the world who Virat Kohli is. I am with Virat Kohli. My heart wants Virat Kohli to score a hundred. I can’t see Virat falling further. I expect a match-winning hundred from him and want to see him take RCB home. I want to see Virat happy.”
RCB have qualified for the playoffs for the third consecutive year while they have played three IPL finals so far. However, the Bangalore-based franchise is yet to win the coveted title despite having some of the best T20 cricketers in their ranks over the years.
This year, RCB finished the league stage in the fourth position with 8 wins from 14 games and it remains to be seen if they can lift the title under Faf du Plessis’ captaincy.