IPL: How Will Jacks is making his mark for Royal Challengers Bengaluru

I was pretty lucky to have a match-winning partnership with Virat Kohli, says English allrounder

Will Jacks plays a shot during his practice ahead of an IPL match (photo: RCB)
Will Jacks plays a shot during his practice ahead of an IPL match (photo: RCB)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

It was the turn of two young overseas professionals to set the IPL 2024 on fire last weekend. After Australian Jake Fraser-McGurk set the tempo for Delhi Daredevils on Saturday, a certain Will Jacks of Surrey spearheaded Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s big chase with a 41-ball century against Gujarat Titans on Sunday, 28 April.

Talk about pacing the innings, the 25-year-old who has already been quite a journeyman in franchise leagues, did it very much his own way. He laboured his way a bit for the first 50 in 31 balls but then raced to three figures in the next 10 deliveries, picking up dangerman Rashid Khan for some special treatment.

With only three wins in 10 games, RCB are not yet out of the last position in the table but two back-to-back wins – along with a one-run defeat to highfliers Kolkata Knight Riders before that when Jacks scored a counterattacking fifty – betrays a new-found character in the team. In five games, Jacks has scored 176 runs so far at a strike rate of 191.30 and though it’s unlikely that he is going to get more than the remaining four league games, the English cricketer is leaving enough early impression for the mega auction at the end of the year.

Thanking master batter Virat Kohli, with whom he was associated in a match-winning partnership, Jacks revealed how the former guided him in 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.

Speaking on IPL website, Jacks continued: “He (Kohli) 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.

 “We had lost by one 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,” said the off spinning allrounder.

Glenn Maxwell, who remained padded up awaiting his turn amid the Jacks-Kohli show, was 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 added.

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