4 times Virat Kohli scored an ODI century coming to bat at 0/1
The way he is scoring runs, making centuries for fun, chasing down totals with utter ease and creating one record after another, Virat Kohli seems to be batting in a parallel universe. No other batsman emanates the kind of class and comfort that Kohli exudes at the crease.
He has come out to bat in diverse match situations and has come out on top in the majority of them. Let us recollect four such innings when he had to bail India out from a situation wherein the opening batsman had gone back to the pavilion without the team getting off the mark.
#1 183 vs Pakistan, Mirpur, February 18, 2012
In a crunch Asia Cup encounter, a do-or-die match for the Indian side that was coming off a defeat to hosts Bangladesh, India locked horns with arch-rivals Pakistan. Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bat.
Openers Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed started off sedately before their flurry of boundaries started frustrating the Indian camp. The fact that Sachin Tendulkar had to be called to roll his arm over was evidence enough that the Indians had found it seemingly tough to break the opening stand which finally got broken for 224.
But this was not before both openers had completed their respective centuries and laid a perfect platform for the middle order to launch an attack from. With notable contributions from Younis Khan and Umar Akmal, Pakistan ended with a mammoth 329 on the board.
Set out to achieve their record chase to win an ODI, Indians got off to the worst possible start as Hafeez accounted for Gautam Gambhir with just his second delivery. 330 to get and out came Virat Kohli, who had scores of 133*, 108 and 66 preceding this match.
The pressure of a huge run chase in a must-win encounter and the nerves of an India-Pakistan match were major things that he had to cope up with apart from the penetrative Pakistan bowling attack. Though he was still strengthening his position as a dependable number 3 in the batting order, the then newly appointed vice-captain negated the new ball and played himself in beautifully.
He never let the asking rate go out of bounds and kept hitting the bad balls for boundaries. Tendulkar departed after a 133 run stand but incoming batsman Rohit Sharma gave him good company as the duo pocketed the match for their team. While the latter complied a gritty 68, Kohli decimated Pakistan’s potent bowling attack to all parts of the ground as he clinched his third century in four games, celebrating the milestone in an identifiable animated manner.
Before going back to the pavilion, Kohli’s 148-ball 183, his highest score in ODI’s till date, was not just enough to ensure that India remained alive in the competition, but also that the world was witnessing a modern batting master take giant strides in international cricket.