Indian captain, Virat Kohli has long been a phenomenon in the game. He has achieved several milestones at such a young age and is on his way to mega-stardom if he’s not already there. The man’s game has been unparalleled over the past few years.
It is well known the Virat thrives under pressure. Here we have a look at 5 innings Virat Kohli saved India:
No. 5: IND v SL, 2 April 2011, ICC Cricket World Cup final
India played Sri Lanka in the finals of 2011 ODI World Cup at Wankhede. Sri Lanka batted first and posted 275 on the board. Never had a target bigger than this, achieved in the final of a World Cup.
India did not start their innings well. Sehwag got out on the 2nd ball of the innings to Malinga. The other opener, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir had a partnership of 31 runs that lasted up to 6.1 overs.
Sachin Tendulkar got out caught behind to Malinga again and the people all over India lost hope.
Virat had a humongous task upon him to calm the crowd and make them believe that India was still in the game. He showed exemplary patience and steadied India’s ship.
He scored a crafty 35 off 49 balls with only four boundaries. He rotated the strike beautifully and allowed Gambhir to play freely. His partnership of 83 with Gambhir set-up the run-chase.
He said in an interview that though he scored only 35 runs, the pressure of the World Cup was huge and therefore this innings is one of the Top 5.
No. 4: IND v AUS, 16 October 2013
Australia toured India in 2013. They had won the 1st ODI in Pune. The 2nd ODI was at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
After winning the toss, Australia went all out against the Indians and scored a huge total of 359. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma gave a very good start to India. Dhawan got out in the 27th over with 176 on the board.
The match was well poised. Another couple of wickets would have shifted the match in Australia’s favour. But Virat had different plans. He looked in no mood to comfort the Aussies. He started hitting the middle of his bat from ball one.
Virat reached his half-century in no time giving Rohit Sharma the petty task of rotating the strike. Soon, Virat reached his century in 52 balls. This is the fastest century by an Indian in ODI cricket.
The innings meant that Australia lost the match by 9 wickets. India chased down the huge total of 360 in just 43.3 overs.
No. 3: IND v PAK, 18 March 2012
It was the 2012 Asia Cup in Bangladesh. India faced Pakistan in the 5th match of the tournament. Pakistan elected to bat first and scored 329 runs.
The total looked even bigger with the pressure of a must-win game of a tournament, that too against Pakistan. Gambhir fell on the first ball of the innings. The onus once again was on the youngster who came to bat along with Sachin Tendulkar.
Virat had his eye in since he came to the crease. He shared a 133-run partnership with Sachin. Rohit Sharma came in next. By then, Virat had already shown that he meant business that night.
None of the Pakistani bowlers could handle the red-hot Virat Kohli as he blazed onto his highest score of 183 in just 148 balls at a strike rate of 124. His innings consisted of 22 boundaries and a six.
The next highest score from Indian scorecard was Rohit’s 68. That quite summed up Virat’s day. India won the match by 6 wickets in the 48th over.
No. 2: IND v AUS, 27 March 2016, ICC T20 World Cup
In 2016 ICC T20 World Cup, India had to beat Australia in a must-win encounter. The match was a virtual Quarter-Final.
In PCA Stadium, Mohali, Australia won the toss and chose to bat first. Australia scored 160 in their 20 overs setting India a chase at a required run rate of 8.05 runs per over.
In a do-or-die match, anything above 150 is difficult to chase. But it was again the chase master at work. Shikhar Dhawan got out in the 4th over with India scoring 23.
Virat came in at No. 3. He never lost track of the required rate and kept scoring quickly. Rohit, Raina and Yuvraj came in and got out but Kohli never lost hope.
India needed 39 to win in the last 3 overs. Virat blasted two fours and a six off Faulkner and 21 were required from the last 2 overs.
With Dhoni scoring at a poor strike rate, Virat had to play on his own and win the match. He smashed Nathan Coulter-Nile for four boundaries in the 19th over.
With only 4 runs required to win from the last over, Virat did it in style. He scored 32 out of the 39 that were required in the last 3 overs and India won with 5 balls to spare.
It was indeed a master-class from the modern master!
No. 1: IND v SL, 28 February 2012, CB Series
In the Commonwealth Bank Triangular Series, India faced Sri Lanka. This again was a must-win game for India. But here, India had to chase the Sri Lankan target in 40 overs to stay in contention.
India won the toss and put Sri Lanka into bat. Sri Lanka ended up with 320 on the board. India required to win the game in 40 overs with the required rate of 8.025 at the start of the innings.
Sachin and Sehwag both got out in the 30s. Gautam Gambhir was on the crease when Virat came in to bat. Virat never looked in any trouble as he started his innings in typical Virat Kohli way by rotating the strike.
Once he settled down, it was his time to showcase his talent to the world. He started hitting all the bowlers to all the parts of the ground. Even the legend Lasith Malinga looked timid in front of him. He thrashed Malinga for 24 runs in an over.
But the humble Malinga walked away with a smile on his face and appreciated the youngster. Virat scored a brilliant hundred. His run a ball innings of 133 ensured that India chased down the target with 21 balls to spare for the completion of 40 overs.
Here is his wonderful innings:
It was difficult to select top 5 innings from a career built on flourishing playing under pressure. Over the years, Kohli has evolved his game continuously to reach where he is right now. If he continues the same way, we would surely have many changes to make in his Top 5 innings under pressure.