From a nervy start to slamming eight boundaries in his last ten balls, centurion Will Jacks powered Royal Challengers Bengaluru to the fastest successful chase of a 200-plus target in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Speaking after his 41-ball hundred, Jacks revealed how his senior partner Virat Kohli helped him through the initial phase of his innings, taking on Rashid Khan in the powerplay and providing tips on tackling spin.

“Virat kind of helped me through my first 15 balls where I was struggling and he showed good intent which is what we had spoken about. That was really good from him and he was keeping us ahead,” Jacks told RCB teammate Cameron Green on the IPL website.

“He was giving me tips on playing spin. He said he was reading Rashid well and could take him down which helped me. He has got so much experience, he is amazing to bat with, I learnt so much out there and pretty lucky to have that kind of partnership with him.

“I was feeling a bit nervous but it was nice to get one away and the confidence just instantly comes back and from there we were trying to get ahead of the game. And the last two overs it was just about having fun. Virat was like, ‘just keep going, don’t stop.’ I never thought about the hundred, but then I looked up, seven to win, I am on 88, you never know. Crazy innings to go from not being able to hit the ball to feeling like I could hit anything,” Jacks said.

The 25-year old Englishman feels RCB have now built some serious momentum following back-to-back victories. “We had lost by 1 run and now we have won two in a row. We have been building momentum. We have still got a chance. We have shown what we can do. We win all four, we get on a roll, you never know, and those can be how you win the tournament. You just sneak into fourth place there in great form and then you never know,” Jacks said.

Jacks smashed six sixes and two fours off the last ten deliveries he faced, surging to a 41-ball hundred that delighted his partner Kohli at the other end. “You got your next 50 in 10 balls, 31 (ball) 50, 41 (ball) 100. Second half was your day at the golf course. I was pissed off I didn’t smash the first one (in the 16th over) for six but when I saw you were on 94 and with one to win I was like, ‘thank god I didn’t smash it,” Kohli, who cracked 70 off 44, told Jacks in the dressing room.

“He (Jacks) called for two and when he looked back I was ready for three, and he decided I am going to hit every ball for six now because I am not running anymore. That was the secret. Brilliant!” Kohli joked, to which Jacks responded, “It was too hot!”

Glenn Maxwell, who remained padded up awaiting his turn amid the Jacks-Kohli show, was mighty impressed by the hitting prowess on display.

“It is the happiest I have been in a long time. It is the most excited I have been watching cricket in a long time. And it is the happiest I have been for a teammate in a long time, knowing that he is a big chunky boy in the heat of the day, fielding first, hit the best spinner in the world for a bunch of sixes together, that’s amazing, 100 off 41, and what did they end up getting, 166 off 74, pretty damn good,” Maxwell said.

The match-winning partnership also brought a smile to birthday boy and head coach Andy Flower. “Thanks a lot for the present, guys. What a birthday gift. And what a pleasure as a cricketer, as an ex-cricketer actually, to see the power from Jacks and the absolute class from Virat,” coach Flower said.


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