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Virat Kohli’s Blistering Knock Makes Case for T20 World Cup Opening Slot

In a resounding display of skill and dominance, Virat Kohli delivered a masterclass with the bat during the IPL 2024, propelling Royal Challengers Bengaluru to a decisive victory against Punjab Kings. This crucial Thursday night clash on May 9 saw Kohli in fine form, as he hammered 92 runs off a mere 47 balls, marking the RCB’s fifth win of the season and bolstering their hopes for a playoff berth.

Kohli has been a powerhouse in the 17th edition of the IPL, amassing an impressive 634 runs across 12 innings, maintaining a striking rate of 153.51. In spite of such figures, he faced scrutiny for his strike rate, particularly during his century against the Rajasthan Royals and a 51-run inning off 43 balls against the Gujarat Titans.

Now at 35 years old, the cricketing superstar has responded to critics undeniably in the last three innings, showcasing aggressive cricket that has caught the attention of the cricketing world. Former players and pundits alike have lauded Kohli for his scintillating performance, with many suggesting that he is well-suited to take up the role of opening batsman for India in the forthcoming T20 World Cup 2024.

Echoing this sentiment, former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly acknowledged Kohli’s exceptional performance in the IPL 2024, advocating for his position at the top of the order in the global tournament. Speaking with PTI, Ganguly admired Kohli’s recent innings, emphasizing, “Virat is playing exceptionally well. The way Kohli batted last night, 90 in quick time, you need to use him as an opener in the T20 World Cup. He should open, evidenced by his last few IPL innings which have been outstanding.”

India is poised to enter the ICC event, co-hosted by the USA and West Indies, with only two designated openers: Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal, along with Shubman Gill, who has been struggling with form, serving as a reserve. Kohli’s explosive approach in the powerplay overshadows the need for a conventional opener, making him an ideal partner for Sharma at the commencement of an inning in the World Cup.

As the Indian squad gears up for the T20 World Cup 2024, the team lineup reads as a roster of potential and experience. Captained by Rohit Sharma with Hardik Pandya as vice-captain, the squad includes Yashasvi Jaiswal, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj. The reserves named are Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed, and Avesh Khan.

The discussion about Kohli’s role in the T20 World Cup has rippled beyond just his performance on the field. In related stories, Kohli has opened up about the significance of the slog sweep against spinners in the shorter format of the game. Additional IPL buzz includes anticipation for the clash between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings taking place at Narendra Modi Stadium. BCCI secretary Jay Shah also weighed in on recent decisions, specifically about the exclusion of Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer from the BCCI central contracts.

Kohli’s recent form maintains his reputation as a key player for not only the Royal Challengers Bengaluru but potentially as a linchpin for the Indian team’s success in the upcoming T20 World Cup. His readiness to adapt and seize the crucial opening slot could very well be the strategic card India plays in their quest to dominate the world stage in T20 cricket.