By Bapu Datta Narayankar
Enjoying one of the best phases in his career so far, Royal Challengers Bangalore's inspirational leader Virat Kohli is ready to play through pain against Kings XI Punjab with multiple stitches in his split webbing in another must-win IPL encounter, in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Kohli sustained a split webbing in his left hand while fielding against Kolkata Knight Riders as he went for a diving catch. He left the field briefly to get medical assistance, got his webbing taped and was back in field. He then played another classy knock to keep RCB's play-off qualification hopes alive.
"I might need 7-8 stitches," Kohli had said after the match but if KXIP thought that the opposition skipper will make himself unavailable, they would be in for disappointment as RCB's manager Avinash Vaidya said that India's No 1 batsman will be playing on Wednesday.
"Virat will definitely play tomorrow," Vaidya, a former Karnataka Ranji player, told PTI on Tuesday.
IPL's perennial whipping boys KXIP are out of the tournament and are in a mood to complete formalities while RCB will be hoping that they record another big win to take their points tally to 14 and survive to fight till the last round of the league engagements. RCB are currently lying fifth and two wins will take them to the play-offs.
For Punjab, who have now lost Glenn Maxwell due to a side strain, their job will be to make life difficult for the RCB but on a small Chinnaswamy ground, the possibilities are pretty less.
As the tournament reaches the business end, RCB's much vaunted batting line-up is giving nightmares to the opposition. Kohli has left his competitors far behind in his bid for 'Orange Cap' with 752 runs to his credit in 12 matches so far which includes a whopping three hundreds in a single edition.
He has also surpassed Chris Gayle's (733) record of maximum runs in a single IPL season.
Their savage attacking skills apart, Gayle's return to form with a smashing 49, will also be a cause of worry for Murali Vijay's side, especially on a pitch considered to be batting paradise.