28th Feb, 2012 and 18th March, 2012 – different days – different countries – different opposition, similar situation – similar results expected – same person delivers it. Yes, I am talking about India’s Virat Kohli. The Indian middle order batsman single handedly demolished the Sri Lankan and Pakistani bowlers to keep India’s hopes alive for qualifying to the finals of CB (Commonwealth Bank) series and Asia Cup respectively.
First, let us have a look at the do or die game for India against Sri Lanka in the CB series at Hobart, Australia. Having won the toss, India put Sri Lanka to bat. Sri Lanka started off on a cautious note, but as the innings progressed, the class of Tillakaratne Dilshan and aggression of Kumar Sangakarra made sure that for India, winning this match was anything but a cakewalk. India had to chase 321 in less than 40 overs to stay alive in the contest.
With the situation not too unfamiliar for the most experienced Indian openers, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag got off to a flying start. However, both could not capitalize on their starts and fell in their 30s. Then walked the in-form Virat Kohli with India at 86 for 2 in 9.2 overs. India needed 235 off 184 balls to stay alive. What one witnessed for the next two hours, was nothing but a display of sheer class and exuberant stroke play from Kohli. It was a chanceless innings and a very well paced one. Kohli reached his 50 in 44balls. The tempo kept rising with Kohli, plummeting Kulasekara in the 31st over to all parts off the ground scoring 18 off the over. It took him just 32 more deliveries after his fifty and a total of 10 boundaries and a six to reach to his 9th ODI century. A six, followed by an elegant flick of the wrist for a couple brought about his century. It didn’t end there. Kohli clobbered Lasith Malinga for 24 runs in the 35th over including four 4s and one 6. Three off the four 4s were classy flicks to the on side. Virat Kohli then steered India home in the 37th over, by far the fastest 300 + run chase. Lasith Malinga ended his day with forgettable figures of 1 for 96 in 7.4 overs with an economy rate of 12.52. Virat Kohli was the man of the match for his 86 balls 133* (16 x 4, 2 x 6).
Stay tuned for the 2nd part of the story. Relive the game:
The article has been authored by Ramnath.
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