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Virat Kohli: The master of the chase

ANALYST
Feature
754   //    16 May 2019, 02:56 IST

.Virat Kohli bends the situation to his will
.Virat Kohli bends the situation to his will

Virat Kohli has already scored a whopping 25 hundreds in ODI chases, and out of which 21 have led to an Indian win. He has scored a stunning 6617 runs in chases, and averages 68.22 while his team bats second. No batsman has more hundreds chasing a target than Kohli, and he is just 30 years old.

We can only shudder when we imagine the peaks that this man will reach by the time he calls it quits. Kohli has been a batting dynamite, a man who has plundered attacks at will. And all that gets multiplied when he is presented with a target.

Kohli orchestrates a chase in his own inimitable way, and he steers the game in the direction he wants. That is exactly what great players do; they make you feel that they are in complete control, and nothing is beyond them.

Kohli has been a real game-changer in ODI cricket. His ability to back himself and to make the impossible look routine has to be seen to be believed.

For the most part Kohli plays conventional cricketing shots right out of the coaching manual - his head is steady, the weight is transferred on either foot with ease, the wrists are soft. And yet he also possesses the skill to improvise when required, turning good deliveries into boundaries.

That unique combination makes him the greatest batsman of the modern era. Kohli is one of the most technically accomplished batsmen ever in ODI cricket and also the most smartly effective, on par with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.

And when it comes to chases, there is no batsman who does it better than ‘King Kohli’. He almost gives us the impression that there is a chart that runs in his head, which tells him exactly what to do.

Kohli’s competitive juices get flowing when he is confronted with a target to chase. He looks at the challenge in the eye, and does everything in his power to vanquish it. Kohli bends the situation to obey his decision-making, and to suit his style of play.

Along the way, he has scripted several gems which have helped India chase stiff targets with ridiculous ease. His ethereal 133* at Hobart against Sri Lanka in 2012 helped India chase down the Sri Lankan target of 321 inside 40 overs; his resplendent 183 in Sachin Tendulkar’s final ODI match allowed India to chase down a huge target of 330 at a canter; his 104 at the Adelaide Oval in 2019 helped India beat Australia in their own den, while chasing an imposing 299.

Kohli is an enigma as far as chasing a target is concerned - the like of which ODI cricket has never seen before.

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