Virat Kohli scored his second ton of the season © AFP
Virat Kohli scored his second IPL ton of the season © AFP

Virat Kohli wields a magical bat. There is no other explanation. He cannot possibly be this good; nobody can. Don Bradman would not have averaged 100 in Twenty20 (T20) cricket, and there has never been a more consistent batsman than The Don in the history of cricket. No one, that is, since the 2016 version of Kohli. A year ago, Kohli was struggling more than he ever had in One-Day International (ODI) cricket. Sure, there was the century against Pakistan in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and then another ton at the end of the year against South Africa, but he averaged less than 40 by the end of the year. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD, Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rising Pune Supergiants, IPL 2016, Match 35 at Bangalore

It would seem that Kohli took matters into his own hands and scoured the planet for something that would help him. Bats are usually called ‘Willow’ but Kohli discovered wood from an Elder tree. Or maybe it was Weirwood. Whatever the wood, it was clearly magical. Kohli has played 12 T20I innings in 2016. His scores have been 90 not out, 59 not out, 50, 7, 49, 56 not out, 41 not out, 23, 55 not out, 24, 82 not out, 89 not out. That is 625 runs in 12 innings at an average (not strike rate, average) of 125 and strike rate of 139.50 with 7 fifties. Virat Kohli’s blistering hundred helps Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Rising Pune Supergiants by 7 wickets in IPL 2016 Match 35 at Bengaluru

Take a moment to process that: 7 fifties in 12 innings (and that innings of 49 against Pakistan which was worth twice as many runs) is something most batsmen do not achieve in Test cricket, forget One-Day Internationals (ODIs). To do so in T20Is is only possible after typing in a cheat code in a cricket video game. Kohli has hacked reality and somehow inserted a cheat code to his batting. The likelier alternative is that he uses a magical bat. These are the only two possibilities; as we have noted already, no one can possibly be that good. Virat Kohli scores 2nd T20 century in Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rising Pune Supergiants IPL 2016 Match 35

Of course, it was entirely possible that the magic in Kohli’s bat was strong in all the T20Is he had played in 2016. Surely, that would not have continued in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016. That would have been equally impossible, for the magic in the bat to last that long. Or so we ordinary mortals might think. Instead, Kohli has turned up in IPL 9 with scores of 75, 79, 33, 80, 100 not out, 14, 52, and now 108 not out. That is 541 runs in 8 innings at 90.17, this time as opener.

There is a famous story about how Indian hockey maestro Dhyan Chand once had his hockey stick checked for hidden magnets, so unbelievable was his control. Kohli’s bat clearly does not have a magnet, but it deserves to be checked nonetheless.

Kohli’s strength was chasing, everyone knew this. Batting first was always the problem. But then his innings of 90 not out at the start of the year against Australia came batting first, as did his first century. Kohli failed in RCB’s only chase before today, against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). So naturally there were eyebrows raised. As naturally, Kohli responded with 108 not out to hush the (non-existent) whispers.

Harry Potter used the Elder Wand to vanquish the Dark Lord. Virat Kohli uses a similarly magical bat to annihilate the opposition.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is an animal lover and comic, film and TV geek. A fast bowler at heart, he enjoys watching a good, low-scoring game of cricket. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)