5 times Kohli carried the entire Indian batting on his shoulders

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Virat Kohli celebrates his century against Pakistan in Asia Cup
Rudranil Guha Roy

The whole world witnessed yet another thrilling encounter between the two cricketing rivals- India and Australia in a virtual quarter-final match at the IS Bindra Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali last night. The final Group 2 match of the ICC T20 World Cup 2016 was a do-or-die one for both the set of players as succumbing to defeat would mean elimination from the most coveted tournament of the shortest edition of the sport.

As Australia put up a massive total of 160 runs on the scoreboard, a lot of cricket pundits were backing the Aussies to beat the host nation and secure a semi-final berth against West Indies at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on the 31st of March.

Soon after the run chase began, the ‘Men in Blue’ found themselves in a spot of bother having lost both their openers.

However, it was one man who was enough to steer the Indians to yet another memorable victory at a world event. Virat Kohli- the 27-year-old Delhi boy who had done it time and again for the Indian cricket team wasn't going to shy away from the situation.

They say, “Opportunity makes a man” and Virat Kohli proved that statement absolutely befitting.

As he scored 82 runs off 51 deliveries from a position where India needed another 67 from 36 balls to win the match, he proved the entire world once again why the pundits are already comparing him with the legend, Sachin Tendulkar.

Here is a list of five instances when Virat Kohli single-handedly steered India over the finishing line:

1. India vs. Pakistan (Asia Cup 2012, Bangladesh)

The ‘Men in Blue’ took on their arch-rivals Pakistan in the 5th match of the Asia Cup at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka back in 2012. The Pakistani captain, Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and decided to have a go with the bat first.

The Pakistani openers, Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed were absolutely sensational as the duo put up 224 runs for the opening stand. Pakistan was cruising at 220 runs at the end of 35 overs and it seemed that 350 and possibly even 400+ runs were up for grabs for the ‘Men in Green'.

However, the Indian bowling line-up led by Praveen Kumar and Irfan Pathan fought back valiantly to restrict the Pakistani batsmen to 329.

The Indian run-chase was off to a dismal start as Gautam Gambhir went back to the pavilion on the very first ball of the second innings. However, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli steadied the ship and added 133 runs on the scoreboard before Saeed Ajmal picked up the prized wicket of the master blaster.

But there was no stopping the current Indian test captain. A calm and composed Virat Kohli literally played with the world famous Pakistani bowling line-up on that fateful day.

The Delhi boy scored 183 runs off just 148 deliveries in the 211 minutes that he was on the pitch. He had hit 22 boundaries and one six, scoring runs at a strike-rate of 123.64.

Although he fell prey to an Umar Gul delivery in the 48th over of the second innings, Virat Kohli made sure that India overcomes its arch-rivals to secure a memorable win at the 2012 Asia Cup.

2. India vs. Sri Lanka (One Day International Series 2014, India)

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Virat Kohli in action against the Sri Lankan bowling line-up

India hosted their southern neighbours, Sri Lanka, back in 2014 and the two sides were set to fight it out in the 5th match of the ODI series at JSCA Stadium Complex in Ranchi.

Although the 'Men in Blue’ were already leading the series 4-0, the game was still equally important for the two teams as India wanted to end the series on a high and the Lankan tigers were playing to regain their honour.

The Sri Lankan captain, Angelo Mathews had won the toss and resolved to have a go with the willow first up.

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene scored 35 and 32 respectively to give the island nation a solid foundation as the Indian pacer, Dhawal Kulkarni was looking extremely dangerous in the first half of the game.

The captain- Angelo Mathews led his team by example as he scored a solid 139 off just 116 deliveries to conclude the Sri Lankan innings at 286 runs at the end of 50 overs.

The Indian opener duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma departed early as after the end of 5th over India were struggling at 14 for 2.

The man of the hour, Virat Kohli along with Ambati Rayudu calmed down the panic-stricken Indian dressing room as they went on to add another 144 runs on the scoreboard.

The charismatic Delhi batsman went on to score 139 runs and steer the 'Men in Blue’ to a series white-wash against the Lankans while the rest of the batting line-up failed miserably.

Kohli spent 192 minutes on the crease and faced 126 deliveries en route to his 139. He had hit 12 boundaries and three sixes to guide India to a 3-wicket-victory with eight balls remaining.

3. India vs. Australia (T20I Series 2016, Australia)

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Virat Kohli playing with the Australian bowling line-up

The 'Men in Blue’ were up against the mighty Australians in the opening match of the 3-match-T20I series at the Adelaide Oval at the beginning of this year. The Aussie skipper Aaron Finch got the better of MS Dhoni during the toss and decided to have a go with the ball first.

The Indians lost a couple of early wickets as Rohit Sharma got dismissed after scoring a brisk 35 and the left-handed Indian opener, Shikhar Dhawan, soon followed his partner's footsteps after having scored a mere five runs before guiding a Shane Watson delivery to the safe pair of hands of the Australian wicketkeeper, Matthew Wade.

Virat Kohli once again stole the show as he guided India to a massive 188 with the help of his 90 runs. Kohli dispatched nine balls towards the boundary line and also hit a couple of sixes to score runs at a strike rate of 163.63.

The Indian bowlers restricted the fierce Australian batting line-up to just 151 and secured the opening match of the T20I series to their name by 37 runs.

4. India vs. South Africa (ICC World T20 2014, Bangladesh)

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Virat Kohli showing his class to the South African bowlers

The two great cricketing nations of India and South Africa were pitted against each in the second semi-final match of the ICC World T20 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka.

After the Proteas skipper, Faf du Plessis decided to have a go with the bat at the toss, the South African team suffered an early setback having lost the wicket of Quinton de Kock with just nine runs beside their name at the scoreboard.

However, a couple of solid batting performances from JP Duminy and the captain himself guided the South Africans to 172 runs after their allotted quota of 20 overs.

The Indians reached their target with 5 balls to spare, courtesy of a brilliant 72 from Virat Kohli. The 27-year-old hit five boundaries and two sixes in the 44 balls that he had faced, scoring his runs at an outrageous strike rate of over 160.

The Indians won the match by 6 wickets and advanced to the grand finale of the coveted tournament only to lose the ultimate match to their southern neighbours, Sri Lanka.

5. India vs. Pakistan (ICC T20 World Cup 2016, India)

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Virat Kohli celebrates his fifty against Pakistan at Eden Gardens

Team India was up against Pakistan in the 19th match of the ICC World T20 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata for an extremely crucial group stage match. The 'Men in Blue’- having lost their opening match against New Zealand had their backs against the wall and had to win the match against Pakistan to keep themselves alive in the tournament.

The Indian skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and decided to field first. The Pakistani openers got their side off to a decent start in a match which was reduced to 18 overs per innings due to previous heavy showers.

The Indian bowling line-up led by the veteran Ashish Nehra pulled things back for the Indians as the Pakistani total was restricted to 118 runs in their allotted 18 overs.

The Indian chase didn't start off as expected as the opening duo of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan soon bit the dust. The proceedings weren't looking to be going in India's favour in this crunch match.

But Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh steadied the ship for the Indians as the duo added another 61 runs on the scoreboard. The 27-year-old Delhi batsman went on to score 55 runs off 37 deliveries hitting seven boundaries and a massive six in the process.

Edited by Staff Editor

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