New Delhi: Prodigious Virat Kohli on Saturday became the first player to hit three centuries in one season of Indian Premier League (IPL) as two Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batsmen reached 100s against a clueless Gujarat Lions attack at M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The RCB skipper reached his third hundred of the ninth season with a six off the third ball of the last over, bowled by Praveen Kumar. The 27-year-old took 53 balls to reach the hundred, which also included five fours and seven sixes.
Unlike his two hundreds, which were both unbeaten, Kohli got out after hitting another six at an individual score of 109 off 55 balls.
Kohli had scored his first hundred in T20, in the first leg of this fixture. An unbeaten 100 against the Lions at Rajkot on April 30 was just the beginning.
He then hit another ton, another unbeaten 108 against Rising Pune Supergiants at Bangalore on May 7.
He, along with another century maker, AB de Villiers posted an unthinkable 229-run second wicket partnership in just 16 overs as Suresh Raina-less Lions struggle to cope with the barrage of stroke-making from two of the best batsmen in modern era.
De Villiers' hundred was the fifth fastest in the IPL history, which has RCB's own Chris Gayle holding the record in mere 30 balls.
After losing the toss, RCB were asked to bat first by Lions's stand-in skipper Brendon McCullum, and it seemed a good toss to win with Chris Gayle departing in the fourth over.
But the West Indian's departure proved to be the turning point, as it heralded the coming together of Kohli and de Villiers.
Kohli and de Villiers posting hundreds also meant that it was the first time two batsmen reached 100s in a single IPL innings. Now, they have three IPL hundreds each.
Again, Gayle is the leading century maker in IPL, with five.
RCB's total of 248/3 was second highest team total in IPL, only behind their own 263/5 against Pune Warriors India in 2013 — in which Gayle hit the fastest ton.
McCullum used seven bowlers, but Ravindra Jadeja was the only one to have conceded less than 10 an over.