Kohli responds to criticism of Jacks’ spin strike rate while praising his “phenomenal” tonality.

Will Jacks’ 41-ball century against Gujarat Titans was praised by Virat Kohli, who called it “phenomenal” and one of the best T20 hundreds ever made. It is currently the fifth-fastest IPL century. After Kohli and Jacks put up a 166-run unbroken partnership off 74 balls, RCB needed just four overs in Ahmedabad on Sunday, April 28, to defeat Titans’ 200.

Jacks started his innings quite slowly, plodding to a 17 runs per ball in the first part of the RCB chase. However, by that point, Kohli had reached his fifty-score and set the visitors up for a victorious chase. But Jacks quickly went into overdrive, and as RCB finished the chase in 16 overs, the Englishman destroyed Rashid Khan for 29 runs in the 15th over and then proceeded to destroy Mohit Sharma for 29 runs in the following over.

“Phenomenal!” After the victory, Kohli stated. “When Jacks first came to bat, he was a little frustrated that he couldn’t hit the ball as cleanly as he wanted to, but we didn’t have any conversations in between other than to keep supporting and committed because we knew how explosive he could be.

“As soon as he got that big over off Mohit, my role altered completely, permanently. Being on the other side of the game was a relief. Although I had anticipated winning the match in 19 overs, our 16 over effort was very remarkable. I was content to observe it intently from the opposite end, since I believe it was one of the best T20 hundreds one will ever see.”

RCB’s run chase in the first half had been led by Kohli, who turned into an enthralled spectator to Jacks’s hitting on the opposite side. Kohli, who has been under fire for his poor scoring percentage against spinners, launched an offensive against Rashid, Noor Ahmad, and R Sai Kishore on Sunday. In just 34 balls, he scored 61 of his 70 runs against the spin trio, culminating in a spin strike-rate of 179.41. Only twice in the 2016 season—against the Gujarat Lions (188.46 SR) and the Punjab Kings (240.90 SR)—has he scored more runs when facing spin.

“The wicket was pretty good, I mean towards the later half of their innings, it started settling down and that was probably the reason why both teams wanted to bowl first,” he said. It was clear that as the temperature dropped and the air grew colder, the ball began to fall perfectly onto the bat as the wicket steadied. I was just enjoying myself out there, pushing limits as needed. We never permitted the run-rate to fall below 10 runs per over during the chase, and Jacks ultimately accomplished that.”

Kohli became the first hitter to reach 500 runs this season in the process. In the competition’s history, he has now accomplished this milestone the most times—seven times, to be exact. Reminded of the milestone, Kohli dismissed the stats, saying they didn’t concern him, especially in light of the recent controversy surrounding his strike rate against spin.

“Those who discuss strike rates and my poor spin game are the ones bringing up these topics. For me, it’s all about winning the games for the team, which is why you’ve been doing this for fifteen years. You’ve won games for your teams, and if you haven’t been in that position yourself, I’m not sure why you sit there and discuss the game from the box.

“For me, people can talk about their assumptions day in and day out, but those who have done day in and day out, they know what’s happening and it’s a kind of muscle memory for me now,” he stated.

Despite still being at the bottom, RCB has gained some momentum after winning their last two games. “We wanted to step up for ourselves, play for our self respect,” said Kohli. The way we want to play is not the same as how we played in the first half of the tournament; we want to see the ball as much as possible, attack much more, and have fielders risk their lives for the ball.

“Aside from the previous two games, we haven’t performed up to par, but we just want to keep going because the dressing room environment is fantastic. We want to play for the fans who have been supporting us as well as for ourselves and to have some self-respect for the reason we’re playing at this level.”