In a recent match between Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), a rare occurrence took place as both teams witnessed their respective batsmen scoring centuries in the same game.
Heinrich Klaasen, who has been displaying excellent form, achieved his first-ever IPL century and second in T20 cricket. His explosive innings, completed in just 49 deliveries, allowed Sunrisers to recover from a slow start and post a competitive total of 186/5.
However, Klaasen’s remarkable century was soon overshadowed by a sensational knock from Virat Kohli. Kohli, who had not scored an IPL century in four years, played an outstanding innings of 100 runs off 63 balls. From the very beginning, he took charge of the game, forming a formidable opening partnership of 172 runs with RCB captain Faf du Plessis.
Although Kohli’s century proved to be the match-winning performance, earning him the Player of the Match award, former cricketer and commentator Kevin Pietersen provided a unique perspective.
Pietersen expressed an “unpopular thought” by considering Klaasen’s century to be superior to Kohli’s. During the post-match analysis on Star Sports, Pietersen highlighted the challenging circumstances Klaasen faced, playing for a team that was already out of contention and lacking support.
Pietersen applauded Klaasen’s phenomenal innings and emphasized the brilliance of his performance within a dysfunctional team. Despite differing from popular sentiment, Pietersen firmly stood by his assessment.
After reaching his century, Kohli was dismissed, matching the record for the most centuries in the IPL (6) alongside his former RCB teammate Chris Gayle. Du Plessis also departed in the following over. Nevertheless, the substantial opening partnership laid a solid foundation for RCB, enabling Glenn Maxwell and Michael Bracewell to guide the team to victory comfortably with eight wickets and four deliveries to spare. This win significantly enhances RCB’s chances of securing a top-four finish in the group stage.
The contrasting centuries by Kohli and Klaasen delivered an enthralling contest, sparking ongoing debates regarding the superior innings. While Kohli’s knock led to victory and established statistical milestones, Pietersen’s appreciation of Klaasen’s exceptional performance draws attention to the context and challenges faced by individual players.