Star Wars: Virat Kohli v Imran Tahir

Kohli would be desperate to fetch points for RCB, which has won only once so far. After a long, intense Test series, he’d be up against a Steve Smith-led team again. And, Smith will count on Imran Tahir to stop Kohli.

Virat Kohli and Imran Tahir.

Last season, he was ridiculously good. Last season, he was unstoppable. Last season, David Warner made more runs than any batsman had in the previous eight IPLs and still finished second to him. Last season, Virat Kohli’s numbers belied normal T20 numbers -- in 16 games, he scored 971 runs at 81.08 with four hundreds and seven fifties.

To replicate that form this season is near-impossible. But Kohli’s first innings - a 47-ball 62 despite on a losing cause against Mumbai Indians - in this season’s IPL was ominous, considering he was returning from an injury. There was a strong bottom-hand lob over long on, an imperious pull from outside off-stump towards mid-wicket, a late delicate dab that teased the ‘keeper before heading to the boundary. He’s here now. Beware.

Kohli would be desperate to fetch points for RCB, which has won only once so far. After a long, intense Test series, he’d be up against a Steve Smith-led team again. And, Smith will count on Imran Tahir to stop Kohli. Tahir was taken apart by Brendon McCullum in the last game. But that, RPS will hope, was an aberration; for he’s been its leading bowler and perhaps the best bet to curb or dismiss Kohli before he gets going.