On the momentous occasion of Virat Kohli playing his 100th T20I for India, we look back on the best rounds of his career in the shortest format.
When Virat Kohli took the pitch against Pakistan in the 2022 Asian Cup after more than a month away, it was a joyous occasion as the star Indian striker completed his 100th T20I.
Having made his debut against Zimbabwe in 2010, Kohli has enjoyed an incredible career in the shorter format. In 99 games prior to this game, he scored 3308 carries at an average of 50.12 while hitting 137.66. In the 91 innings he batted, he has 30 fifties to his name – so he averages about fifty for every three games he bats.
He is now the first Indian to represent his country in 100 appearances in each of the three formats and only the second player in the world behind New Zealand great Ross Taylor to achieve the feat.
As Kohli celebrates this incredible feat, we look back at five of his best shots in the shortest format.
49 (51) v Pakistan, Asian Cup (2016)
Although this round is the only one on this list that is not fifty, the impact of his kick in the Asian Cup game against Pakistan is invaluable and continues to be ranked as one of the best rounds in Virat Kohli in T20Is.
India were chasing 84 for the win and at first glance it looked like MS Dhoni’s men were going to win. That was before Mohammad Amir burst into the first order, knocking out fly-half Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane for ducks in the first round and soon India found themselves at 8/3 after Suresh Raina was killed too soon.
Kohli lived dangerously in the beginning, surviving a lbw scream and an edge just flying over the slides, but especially for India, managed to survive the tough time. Kohli saw Amir’s fate with two limits in his final and beat patiently afterwards to almost see India at home.
He fell to a run of fifty but had done enough to stem India’s first crash and put them on the verge of a win.
94* (50) v West Indies (2019)
The 94* against West Indies is still Kohli’s highest tally in T20I cricket, but if one were to go back to the start of his innings in Hyderabad, it didn’t look like it would end up being that way.
Chasing 208 points for the win, Kohli was down to a run-a-ball 20 at the halfway point when India needed a further 119 points to win. The start of the innings was quite unusual but the war of words with Kesrick Williams ticked off the Chase Master.
Kohli launched an assault in the second half of the innings, hitting his 50 in style with a max. He took a particular liking to the bowling of Williams, who he crushed for three sixes and a four, including two in the penultimate to bring India home.
70* (29) v West Indies (2019)
Five days after Virat Kohli pulled off a stunning chase, West Indies were on the receiving end of another special innings of the Indian star’s bat. Circumstances were different – the openers had laid the platform with a stand 135 runs in under 11 overs – but the game in Mumbai showed the world the absolute destructive side of King Kohli.
He made his intentions clear by smashing a six over Hayden Walsh on the fifth ball of his innings before hitting Jason Holder for two limits and a six in the next.
No bowler was spared that day, including Kieron Pollard who was taken to the cleaners by Kohli in the 18th with three sixes and a four. The Fifty hit just 21 balls as Kohli’s blitzkrieg took India to 240 in the opening innings.
72* (44) v South Africa, T20 World Cup (2014)
Yet another pivotal game, another chase led by Virat Kohli.
If one had to identify the rounds where Kohli earned the Chase Master tag in the shortest format, it would be the T20 World Cup semi-final against South Africa in Dhaka.
The hit was a masterclass in how to pace your innings in a chase. 17 from 16 as India needed 93 from the last 10, Kohli quickly shifted gears to ensure the pressure of the semi-final chase didn’t get to the team.
Kohli hit his 50s with a max and continued to hit South African bowlers in all games. When it took one to win, Dhoni beat Beuran Hendricks on the last ball of the penultimate to let Kohli finish the innings and put India in the 2014 T20 World Cup final.
82* (51) v Australia, T20 World Cup (2016)
Virtual knockout, seeking a semi-final spot at home, India struggling at 49/3 with an injured Yuvraj Singh at the other end – the stage was set for Virat Kohli to script another memorable chase for the Men in Blue.
Few T20I innings where a batter scored as many runs as Kohli that day could be called a clean sheet, but that was exactly it.
When Yuvraj’s wicket fell, Kohli was still 35 from 30 with India needing 67 in the final six overs. He only needed 31 balls to end the match.
With MS Dhoni in the crease, Kohli found it much easier to run between the wickets. He reached his fifty in 40 bullets but barely celebrated, knowing he had a bigger job to do.
The equation came down to 39 from 18. James Faulkner’s first three balls were 4,4,6 and ended up conceding 19 in total. Nathan Coulter-Nile was treated with similar treatment where Kohli racked up four limits in the most.
Dhoni finished the match in style with a four as Virat fell to his knees at the other end with a smile on his face, carrying India to the semi-finals of the 2016 T20 World Cup.
#revisiting #Virat #Kohlis #T20I #rounds