The best innings of Virat Kohli in ODI cricket
We will take a look at the best innings of Virat Kohli in ODI cricket in his career so far.
“He looks to me like an individual of my own heart. I love his aggression and serious passion that I used to have. He reminds me of myself,” said Sir Vivian Richards, when asked about Virat Kohli.
The Indian run-machine deserves every accolade and praise he gets, just because of his spirited performances for India over the past few years. The brash 25-year-old has been playing some explosive match-winning knocks for India which have led to comparisons with the God of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar.
Virat Kohli has played some stunning knocks for India since his debut in 2008 – the two hundreds he got against Australia in October 2013 when India were chasing scores in excess of 350, his fearless 183 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup in March 2012, the list goes on. But one particular knock he played against Sri Lanka in the CB series in 2012 stands tall above the rest simply because that was the first time the world was exposed to the lion-hearted match-winning attribute residing inside Kohli. He was always hailed as great talent ever since leading India to the Under-19 World Cup in 2008.
His crucial 35 in the World Cup final in 2011 showcasing great character and fighting spirit, showed the immense potential he had. But on a fine evening at Hobart, a young aggressive batsman carrying great potential became a true superstar. The sheer audacity of the knock will ensure that the innings lives long in the memory of everyone who witnessed it, as Virat Kohli lit up the night sky with a swashbuckling 133 off just 86 balls.
India were having a terrible tour Down Under, having lost all 4 Test matches and following some below-par performances in the CB series (tri-Nation tournament between Australia, India and Sri Lanka), they were in a position in which they had to win their final match by a huge margin to have any chance of reaching the final. Sri Lanka piled on 320 runs with the bat, on the back of centuries from Dilshan (160) and Sangakkara (105). India had to chase down the target in just 40 overs if they had to stay alive in the tournament.
India were given a brisk start by Sachin and Sehwag. But both were back in the pavilion with the score at 86 and when Virat Kohli entered the scene, very few would have expected the carnage that followed. Kohli started of trying to forge a partnership with Gambhir by rotating the strike and reached his fifty of just 44 balls. Once he settled down and got a measure of how the pitch was behaving, he just let loose, playing with no inhibition and blasting the Sri Lankan bowlers all over the park. The way he handled the pressure of such a big chase was quite impressive for a then 23-year-old.
He was calm under the circumstances and even early in his innings he hit boundaries regularly and never let the required run rate spiral out of control. The most astonishing part of the innings was the way in which he demolished Lasith Malinga, a lethal bowler in the limited overs format. He even scored 24 runs off a Malinga over en route to his 9th ODI hundred. The ease with which he scored towards the end of his innings was stunning, with Kohli scoring his last 83 runs of just 42 balls. India chased down the target in just 36.4 overs, scoring the last 91 runs in 6.4 overs.
Even though India did not reach the CB series final (Sri Lanka beat Australia in their last match to qualify), this innings will remain long in the memory of Virat Kohli and his fans. Since that day, Kohli has played many match-winning knocks for India and may continue to play many more exhilarating knocks in the future, but this innings will be remembered as the one in which he realised his potential and the innings that has and will continue to spur him on to reach greater heights in his burgeoning career.