BANGALORE: Leading cricketers hailed Virat Kohli and teammate AB de Villiers after the pair smashed scintillating centuries in their Indian Premier League match to break a string of records.
India’s Kohli struck a 55-ball 109 while South Africa’s de Villiers scored an unbeaten 52-ball 129 to power the Royal Challengers Bangalore to a record 144-run victory over the stunned Gujarat Lions on Saturday night.
In front of a roaring crowd in Bangalore, the formidable duo scored only the second ever centuries by batsmen in the same innings in Twenty20 cricket.
Kevin O’Brien (119) and Hamish Marshall (102) scored centuries together for Gloucestershire against Middlesex in 2011.
Kohli and de Villiers added 229 for the second wicket on Saturday night, the highest partnership in the history of T20 cricket.
The pair smashed their own record of 215, which they notched up while playing for Bangalore against the Mumbai Indians during the 2015 IPL season.
Captain Kohli, who is in sizzling form with three centuries in the current IPL, turned the attention on his partner, saying the South African had given him the confidence to power on.
“He’s just an absolute legend. He gave me so much confidence in there. I started off slowly but he just took over and you saw what he can do when he gets set,” the 27-year-old said of de Villiers, who struck 10 four and 12 sixes.
The South African, for his part, paid credit to his wife, saying he performed well whenever he knew that she was in the stands watching.
Teammate Chris Gayle congratulated the two batsman on Twitter, describing their performance as “top knocks from 2 real champions”.
Gayle was dismissed for just six in the same game, his fifth single-digit score in as many matches as the Jamaican star suffers a collapse in form.
Australian vice captain David Warner, also playing in the IPL this season, hailed the pair as “easily the two best batters in the world” while England’s Jos Buttler said: “This is like Ronaldo and Messi on the same team!”
The winning margin was the biggest ever in the IPL since it began in 2008, breaking the previous record of 140 by the Kolkata Knight Riders, notched up in the first match of this season against Bangalore.