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‘Greatness of Virat Kohli has been reduced’: Matthew Hayden’s sizzling take on ex-RCB skipper before IPL 2024 opener

Matthew Hayden highlighted Virat Kohli’s unimpressive record against MS Dhoni’s CSK ahead of the IPL 2024 opener at Chepauk.

Tipped to headline the showdown clash between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Virat Kohli will make his return to competitive cricket alongside legendary cricketer MS Dhoni on March 22 at the Indian Premier League (IPL). Defending champions CSK will meet Kohli-starrer RCB in the IPL 2024 curtain-raiser at the iconic Chepauk. Can RCB rely on the returning run machine against CSK? Legendary Australian opener Matthew Hayden believes Kohli’s batting exploits have taken a massive hit in the recent years of the IPL at the Chepauk

Kohli enjoys a great record against CSK, but Hayden feels Dhoni has done something different in recent years to stop the RCB icon from scoring big(AFP-IPL)

Despite being the all-time leading run-getter in the IPL, Kohli has struggled to get going against CSK in Dhoni’s den since 2021. The former RCB skipper has a below-par average against Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings at the Chepauk. According to former Super Kings star Hayden, Kohli’s batting greatness has been reduced at Chennai. Talking about Kohli’s dip in form at the venue, Hayden pointed out that the former RCB skipper has been dismissed thrice out of the five innings during the powerplays.

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‘MS Dhoni has done something different’

“Virat enjoys a great record against the Chennai Super Kings but since 2021 in the power play MS Dhoni has done something different. In three out of the five innings, he’s gotten out within the power plays. Well one thing for certain, it is a blockbuster showdown, Virat Kohli pretty much this year is going to be celebrated across all the games. His average is 30 at Chepauk Stadium with a strike rate of 111,” Hayden told Star Sports in the build-up to the IPL 2024 opener.

How Kohli performed in IPL 2023?

Former India skipper Kohli missed the entire Test series against England due to personal reasons. Kohli has been out of action since January. The 35-year-old has played 237 matches for RCB since the inception of the IPL. He made his debut against former champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in 2008. The RCB icon has smashed seven centuries in the cash-rich league. However, the former Bangalore skipper is yet to end his century drought at the Chepauk.

‘Greatness of Virat has been reduced’

“So straight away that shows the greatness of Virat has been reduced in terms of his overall performance at that venue. It is a tricky venue to bat on, especially as an opening batsman against a sort of weird tennis ball type bounce. It’s a quite slow and difficult, especially to play his shots early and then the long he seems to bat the game opens up and that’s where Virat can be at his most dangerous,” Hayden continued.

Kohli failed to fire for RCB against CSK in IPL 2023

With 14 points from 14 games, RCB finished sixth in the IPL 2023. Regaining top form in the previous edition of the IPL, Kohli smashed back-to-back centuries for RCB last year. The 35-year-old amassed 639 runs in 14 games at the IPL 2023. The batting maestro notched up six half-centuries and two centuries in the 2023 season. Kohli scored only 6 off 4 balls when RCB last met Dhoni’s CSK at the IPL.

‘Virat can put together a match-winning performance’

“If he’s actually prepared about 20 overs he can put together a match-winning performance because two hundreds that are very accessible at Chinnaswamy are not necessary at Chepauk Stadium. A 156, a fighting, 130 at times has been plenty of runs. When you get guys as good as Harbhajan Singh bowling at those venues and they’ve got the great Jadeja there bowling stump to stump. He’ll get the oddball to turn and then the oddball to stay low. It’s really tricky. So they’re going to need Virat Kohli out early up inside that power play. They’ve done so thrice over the last five innings and they’ll need to do so for the fourth time,” Hayden added.


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