Virat Kohli was out on the first ball for the second straight match as his lean patch continued in the Indian Premier League on Saturday during his side Royal Challengers Bangalore’s humiliating defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Former India captain Kohli, generally a prolific run-getter, has not managed to score a half-century in this season’s 10-team Twenty20 tournament, aggregating 119 runs after eight games.
The 33-year-old, who has scored over 23,500 international runs for India, was out on the first ball against Lucknow Super Giants and on Saturday he edged the fast ball he faced from South Africa fast bowler Marco Jansen at the Brabourne Stadium.
Bangalore were bundled out for just 68 with Jansen and Thangarasu Natarajan picking up three wickets each. Hyderabad batters chased down the target in just eight overs for the loss of one wicket for their fifth consecutive victory.
Kane Williamson-led Hyderabad climbed up to second spot in the IPL table with 10 points while Bangalore occupy fourth — the final spot for the playoffs — with the same points.
Kohli, who has stepped down as India and Bangalore captain in recent months, was expected to dominate the run-scoring charts without the burden of leadership on his shoulders.
But his repeated failures prompted pundits like former India coach Ravi Shastri to suggest that the right-handed batter was “overcooked” and needed a break.
Bangalore coach Sanjay Bangar said Kohli was doing “everything in his control” to get out of the slump while former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin joined the chorus imploring the batter to be rested.
“Virat Kohli deserves a much needed break from some matches. A little rest should rejuvenate him,” Azharuddin said on Twitter after Saturday’s match.
Working as a commentator for IPL’s broadcaster, former England captain Kevin Pietersen said the game needed Kohli to score runs.
“You want a fact? Every single great of our game has been through what Virat is going through,” he said in a tweet.
“Want another fact? They all get through it and deliver on the big stage again.”