The look of disbelief on Virat Kohli’s face as he was dismissed for a second successive golden duck in the IPL said it all. This is a guy who just doesn’t know what or why things are going wrong. He is practising hard in the nets, thinking about the game, making small tweaks but nothing... nothing at all seems to be working.

Kohli’s game has for so long been built on confidence; the confidence in turn came from the runs that he had managed to score in all kinds of conditions and all types of bowlers. It might not even be wrong to say that at times it seemed like the only person who could get Kohli out was Kohli himself.

But as the big knocks have dried perhaps the confidence he once had in his game has eroded too. And the bowlers, in turn, know that they must strike while Kohli is down. It is a vicious circle. For so long, Kohli dominated them but now they have a chance to get back at him and that is exactly what they are doing.

And in no way does that help the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who crashed to 68 all out and lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by nine wickets on Saturday but the team insisted their star batter will bounce back.

Kohli, who also fell to a first-ball duck against Lucknow Super Giants on Tuesday, came to the crease in the second over after South African pace bowler Marco Jansen bowled Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis for five.

Kohli pushed hard at a ball angled across him by the left-arm quick, and edged to Aiden Markram at second slip, who pouched a comfortable catch. Perhaps in his prime, this was a shot Kohli would have avoided. But now, he goes fishing for runs and only finds edges.

Kohli, the standard-bearer for Indian cricket who has been replaced by Rohit Sharma as India’s captain across formats, has now scored just 119 runs from eight matches.

After the match, Kohli was seen having a chat with West Indian legend Brian Lara, who is now with the SRH team. Perhaps he might find a clue soon but then again, perhaps he won’t.

Kohli in IPL 2022

Match Bat Date Ground
RCB vs Sunrisers 0 23-Apr-2022 Brabourne
RCB vs Super Giants 0 19-Apr-2022 DY Patil
RCB vs Capitals 12 16-Apr-2022 Wankhede
RCB vs Super Kings 1 12-Apr-2022 DY Patil
RCB vs Mumbai 48 09-Apr-2022 Pune
RCB vs Royals 5 05-Apr-2022 Wankhede
RCB vs KKR 12 30-Mar-2022 DY Patil
RCB vs Punjab Kings 41* 27-Mar-2022 DY Patil

“He is somebody who has performed consistently for a number of years at this franchise. I think he is going through a rough patch in the sense things are not going his way at the moment,” said Bangalore head coach Sanjay Bangar.

“It a tough phase for him certainly but we are very confident that he will come back strong.”

Former India coach Ravi Shastri had suggested that an “overcooked” Kohli should take a break from the sport, but Bangar said he is taking enough breaks (in international cricket) and needs “a bit of luck to get going”.

Former England batter Kevin Pietersen said Kohli, who has failed to score a century in over 100 matches across formats, has come to a point where the ex-India captain is questioning his own form.

‘Lonely place’

“It’s very a lonely, lonely place, especially when you have got all eyes,” said Pietersen on Saturday.

“That camera not only right here but every single thing is Kohli, Kohli, Kohli and so he is in that dark place. I just hope it ends quickly because the game needs him to score runs.”

Three balls after Kohli’s dismissal, the same Jansen-Markram combination accounted for opener Anuj Rawat to leave Bangalore reeling at 8-3. Jansen finished with 3-25 from his four overs.

Bangalore were unable to recover and kept losing wickets to go down to the lowest total of this season in 16.1 overs. It was the sixth lowest total ever in the IPL.

Only Glenn Maxwell (12) and Suyash Prabhudessai (15) got into double figures.

Hyderabad romped home with 12 overs to spare and move second in the 10-team table led by Gujarat Titans who beat Kolkata Knight Riders by eight runs in the first match of the day.

Bangalore, still searching for their maiden title in the Twenty20 tournament, hold the dubious record of the lowest ever score of 49 against Kolkata Knight Riders in 2017.