Team India’s 30-year-old cricket skipper has been in fantabulous form in 2019 and he has continued in the same vein as seen last year. Kohli was once again in best of touches with the bat. The run-machine slammed a superb 120-ball 116 against Australia in the second ODI against Australia in Nagpur on Tuesday. Courtesy of his ton, India beat the Aussies to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.
Kohli’s brilliance as a batsman has helped him well in terms of his leadership attributes. The manner in which India pulled off a close encounter in Nagpur, showed Kohli’s boldness with the field settings and knowledge to get the bowling changes spot on. Australia collapsed to hand India a tense eight-run win and at the moment Kohli is flying high in terms of leading the side from the front. His mettle was seen in India’s innings as he top scored with the bat. Kohli’s ability to come out strong depended a lot on his approach.
He kept the scorecard ticking and the 120 balls faced showed why he always kept in touch with the scoring rate. India were bowled out for 250 in 48.2 overs and Kohli’s 116 played a solid role. In reply, the tourists were well placed at 218-6 in the 45th over but lost their last five wickets for 24 runs.
The right handed-batsman believes in the fact of making big scores – the ‘Daddy hundreds’ as we call. He has 40 centuries to his name in the format. The skipper also struck his seventh career ODI ton against the Aussies and it once again came in a winning cause. With this, Kohli also has 65 hundreds in international cricket.
For a man who has given us special knocks in an extraordinary career, it is difficult to pick his best knocks. But here we pick the top 5 which we feel has been massive factors in winning India matches.
183 vs Pakistan, Dhaka, 2012
Pakistan rode on twin centuries from openers Mohammad Hafeez (105) and Nasir Jamshed (112), to post a massive 329/6 on the board in a group stage match of the Asia Cup 2012. The Pakistani side lost momentum in the end and ended 20-25 runs short.
In reply, India had lost opening maestro Gautam Gambhir in the first over itself. A young Kohli joined legendary Tendulkar at the crease and the duo stitched a staggering 133-run stand to put India on course. The veteran Tendulkar was dismissed for a gritty 52. But Kohli exhibited great skill and composure to stay for a long duration and script a stunning chase.
Kohli struck 22 fours and a six as he notched 183 off just 148 balls to all but secure the chase for India. Umar Gul dismissed him in the 48th over off the innings, as India won the tie with 13 balls to spare.
133* vs Sri Lanka, Hobart, 2012
This was a stunning innings from Kohli, who by the month of February of 2012, had already shown plenty of promise and zeal. He had already taken shape as one of the best ODI batsmen and was showing the skills of consistency.
This gem of a knock against Sri Lanka got him a reputation to eke out chases with so much finesse and panache. Also it came outside the subcontinent.
Sri Lanka had set a target of 321 after twin tons from Tilekeratne Dilshan (160) and Kumar Sangakkara (105). The Lankans boasted off an attack featuring senior men Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara. India were jolted at 86/2 in a tricky chase.
Kohli was in supreme form, however. He tackled the bowling with a lot of character and added a brisk 115-run stand with Gambhir. That set the chase and he raced to an unbeaten 133 off just 86 balls. Kohli had hit 14 fours and two sixes and stayed till the end to lead India over the line within just 37 overs!
160* vs South Africa, Cape Town, 2018
This was a superb effort by the Indian captain and was one of the best ODI knocks in recent times. Coming in South Africa, this was always going to be a special knock as Kohli mastered his way with a lot of composure in Cape Town in February 2018.
This innings saw Kohli enter a new level after having battling all odds on a pitch where almost all other batsmen struggled. But not Kohli, as he essayed a fluent unbeaten 160. It was a run-a-ball show to lift India to 303/6. India lost 6 wickets for 143 runs, with only a watchable Kohli staying afloat.
The hosts were bowled out for just 179 in the chase. This was another indication of how difficult the conditions were to bat. The Indian skipper though looked as if he was batting on a different surface, striking 12 fours and a couple of sixes.
154* vs New Zealand, Chandigarh, 2016
On a sporting wicket at the PCA Stadium in Mohali, India had restricted visitors New Zealand to 285. Umesh Yadav (3/75) and Kedar Jadhav (3/29) were the pick of the bowlers. In reply, the hosts were in a spot of bother after openers Rohit Sharma (13) and Ajinkya Rahane (5) fell cheaply.
The stage was once again set for Kohli to come in work his way through. And he did exactly that.
The right-hander looked confident and was proactive in his hunt for runs. He batted 134 deliveries to score an unbeaten 154 against a high-quality attack consisting of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Matt Henry. Kohli was helped massively by the veteran MS Dhoni (80) and the duo added 151 runs.
Manish Pandey (28*) gave Kohli company as the duo guided India home with 10 balls to spare. Kohli once again showed that the team can depend on him in tricky situations. His knock was laced with 16 fours and a six.
122 vs England, Pune, 2017
It was the first of five matches against England – a top ODI side – and India were keen to set the standards from the onset. An explosive England stacked up a mammoth 350/7 on a productive batting wicket. Jason Roy (73) and Joe Root (78) were the chief contributors.
India in reply were in tatters. Openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan were dismissed for single-digit scores. And then middle order kingpins Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni too fell cheaply to leave India tottering at 63/4.
England were on top at that moment and once again Kohli found himself in a situation he could associate himself with. When the chips were down, Kohli stood tall. He found an unlikely company in Kedar Jadhav (120) and the duo put on a massive 200 runs to change the way the game went about.
Kohli was dismissed for 122, but his aggression and hunt for runs saw him achieve the feat in just 105 deliveries. The trademark Kohli innings saw a total of eight fours and five sixes. Hardik Pandya (40) got India closer and finally the hosts won the match with 11 balls to spare.