How Virat Kohli’s crisp 90-minute session before Gujarat Titans game helped him score 73 out of 54

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In a chat for IPLT20.com with Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli spoke of a clean session that helped him come back among the races. Kohli hit 73 out of 54 in the opener against Gujarat Titans at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. His highest score in this IPL season included eight fours and two sixes. RCB were chasing 170 and the Kohli-du Plessis partnership worth 115 in 14.3 overs gave them a good start.

Du Plessis asked him about the process before the match, and Kohli zoomed in on a 90-minute nets session that he says helped. More than just a shot in the nets, it’s how Kohli saw the nets takeaway that stands out.

“It has been a very difficult time, there is no doubt about it. There are a lot of things that are out of control on the pitch and I have experienced that this season. One thing that stood out to me was my preparation in front of the net (one day before the last game). I beat about 90 minutes on the go. All I was trying to do was get into a positive mindset with every ball I played.

“I wasn’t thinking about what would happen if the ball spun, or if it kinked or swung, I was just looking at the ball and reacting. And telling myself to take the most positive option I could possibly take. I just extended that into the game today. There are times when you’re a little in doubt. But as soon as the bowler gets to the bowl, you have to say to yourself, just look at the ball and hit it.

One of those moments of potential doubt came quite early in the play when Mohammad Shami had the ball hit the bridge just behind the length. Over the past few games, we’ve seen Kohli tentatively approach similar balls. Umesh Yadav got one to curl with a rebound of a similar length and he pushed an edge. In another match, Dushmantha Chameera had one burst and Kohli tried to straddle the rebound in his usual fashion, but couldn’t hold it off.

This time, however, his response was different. He just leaned forward to cream him up, across the line, and sent him flying halfway. It was, he said, exactly what he had expected during the net session. “The very first shot I played against Shami, I felt like this [that this could be his day]. It was a ball from length and he hit it over his head.

If I could hit a length ball over the bowler’s head for a six or a four, I know I’m in a good space because then I’m not bothered by the balls being thrown in the right areas. If I can hit good balls, I know I’m going to have balls I can hit foursome with,” he told Bhogle.

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