Virat Kohli, one of the greats of Cricket. He is undoubtedly the flag barrier of modern Cricket. But things have changed drastically for him from the past 2 years, we don’t see that old aggressive Kohli anymore and it’s hurting every Cricket fan deeply. Hope the King of Cricket regains his form and slays the bowlers like he did in the past. The thing is he needs a rest of at least three months away from Cricket. You’ve still a long way to go. Please come back, take a rest or go and play domestic cricket for some time, your guru Sachin Tendulkar has done exactly the same thing in the past when he lost form.
There are so many great innings and hundreds in you, come back like a King, and rule Cricket like a King.
Today we give you the top 10 best innings of Virat Kohli, enjoy the elegance and aggression of King.
Are You Ready?
10. 49(98) vs England, Rajkot
With England giving India a target of 310 with last 2 sessions left on the last day (around 60 overs), England bowlers took the advantage of the new ball taking early wickets and putting India under pressure and then spinners continuing where the pacers left, taking more wickets and suddenly India were reeling at 132–6 with around 10 overs left. If not for Kohli’s resistance at that time, India would have suffered a shameful defeat in their own backyard. He stood alone at one end while seeing wickets fall at the other till Jadeja came at number 8 and remained unbeaten till the end ensuring Kohli’s fight did not go in vain.
9. 113(50) vs KXIP, Bangalore
Scoring a century in a T20 match is itself an achievement, while this guy did it in a rain curtailed match where the overs were reduced to 15 per innings. He completed his century in just 43 balls before getting out on 113 in just 50 deliveries with 12 fours and 8 sixes. What’s more? He had injured his left hand 1 or 2 matches before this and had got 4–5 stitches between his thumb and index finger (That’s what he is showing in the above picture that he did this with an injury). This innings just showed the mental strength and fitness that he has maintained to be the best in the world.
8. 76*(101) vs SA, Oval, London
In the ICC Champions Trophy, 2017 South Africa gave a well below par target of 192 runs to India, but such small targets can be as tricky as they can get. With Rohit Sharma out early in the innings, Kohli had to save his wicket to prevent any chance of a collapse. South African bowlers were all guns blazing on Virat as they tested his weakness by bowling outside off stump relentlessly to which Kohli resisted by not playing any risky shot or taking any undue risk. With this plan not working, the bowlers tried to bounce him out but Virat again played all the safe shots and avoided any shot which could result in him getting out. Though he didn’t score a century, didn’t hit many boundaries but the way he played his weaknesses and came out on top of a quality bowling attack showed his determination and concentration.
7. 82*(51) vs Aus, Mohali
With Australia giving a target of 161 in 20 overs and a must win game for both the teams it was a high pressure match and Kohli is known to deliver the goods in such matches, and this match was no different. With India well behind in the match, with just 6 overs left and 67 runs still to be made, there came together India’s 2 most reliable batsmen under pressure, Kohli, who was already there, and Dhoni who came at the fall of Yuvraj’s wicket. They both started running like anything converting the 1’s into 2’s and 2’s into 3’s but still India needed 39 from the last 3 and it seemed very difficult from there. But just then Virat unleashed himself on the Aussies and scored boundaries effortlessly even off good deliveries. He ended up scoring 9 fours and 2 sixes and India won the match with 5 balls to spare and Dhoni finishing it off in his very own style. This innings showed his fitness that even after running so much he hit boundaries effortlessly and was calm throughout this high pressure chasing innings.
6. 169(272) vs Aus, Melbourne
One of the best of Kohli’s innings outside India. India were already behind in the series 2–0 with Australia scoring a massive 530 in the first innings of the 3rd Test match and there came Kohli with India at 108–2, still 428 runs behind. At the start of his innings Johnson tried to run him out as he was out of his crease but instead the ball hit Virat’s legs which he didn’t like at all and gave a few words to Johnson after the over. Being a typical Aussie he gave a few words back and other players also joined him and started sledging Virat. Virat, also being typically himself replied with his mouth and then with his bat. Being 2–0 down and trying to overcome a massive 530 was daunting in itself, which could have been more difficult with all the sledging going on, but nothing seemed to shift Virat’s focus as he piled on the runs while giving a few words in between to Johnson. Most batsmen would succumb under this pressure but here is this guy who thrives under pressure and it brings his A game out. He won the battle against Johnson as he scored 169 from 272 balls.
5. 121(125) vs NZ, Mumbai
The conditions were extremely hot and humid at the Wankhede, not a day on which you would want to play Cricket. India won the toss and chose to bat first. Boult struck early removing Rohit Sharma’s off stump and in came Kohli to steady the Indian innings. The wickets at the other end kept falling at regular intervals as NZ bowlers were doing a wonderful job with the ball but this guy continued to bat. After a while it was very easy to tell that his T-shirt was full of sweat but still he continued to bat without losing his concentration and focus. He got a decent partnership with Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni but neither of them could capitalise on their starts which meant Kohli had to finish the innings well, along with ensuring that he doesn’t lose his wicket. He did that really well as he shifted his gear after reaching 50 and then made his 31st ODI century, after which he started his attacking game. Though not many overs were left by then but he made full use of it by scoring boundaries at ease and still running hard in the heat after batting for 3 hours. Unfortunately, he got out on the first ball of the 50th over but this was indeed one of his best as he batted in testing conditions against a quality attack.
4. 211(366) vs NZ, Indore
A pretty one sided series this, but still the Kiwis had managed to keep the Indian captain quiet with his bat in the first 2 tests with his scores reading 9, 18, 9 and 45. But he is a type of batsman who will not keep quiet for long and he proved that with a brilliant double century and again NZ bowlers did everything they could to get him out but he is one stubborn man. He resisted himself from taking any chances and scored freely off the loose deliveries and eventually came out on top. With this innings he almost made up for the last 4 innings. What was another wonderful thing to watch for was that he scored only 20 fours and 0 sixes, meaning that out of 211, he scored only 80 runs off boundaries and the rest 131 by running the ones and twos. This guy’s fitness is completely on another level.
3. 235(340) vs Eng, Mumbai
This being his highest test score has to be in this list. Again a one sided series, but Kohli showed his class and maturity in the way he built his innings to get way ahead of England’s first innings total of 400. Once again, not taking much risks and scoring mostly of the ones and twos and the occasional boundary in between he went on to make another double hundred and after that what England witnessed was a batsman playing Test Cricket but thrashing their bowlers just like a batsman would in a T20 match. Kohli just unleashed on the bowlers and started hitting boundaries at ease, though he couldn’t do that for long as he was caught on 235 trying to hit a six, but this innings was as good as it could get. In that grand home season, he scored 4 double hundreds in 4 consecutive series and made another record.
2. 100*(52) vs Aus, Jaipur
Fastest century by an Indian in ODI. This sentence alone is enough for this innings to be featured here and I think it would be on almost everyone’s list. India set a target of 360 in 50 overs in that high scoring series. Dhawan and Rohit gave India a solid start before Dhawan got dismissed for 95 with India at 176–1 after 26 overs. So, India needed another 184 with 24 overs left and in came the young Virat Kohli ready to maul the Aussies. He started attacking straightaway and his thrashing stopped only after the winning runs were scored with 6.3 overs to spare. He completed his century at the fag end of the match and made another record of the fastest century by an Indian in ODI.
1. 133*(86) vs SL, Hobart
This was the high pressure chasing match in which Kohli showed to the whole world what he can do if he is at the crease and India is chasing a big total. This was the match after which he got the tag of ‘chase master’. This was the match which made him grow as a batsman and gave Indian fans a belief that Indian Cricket will have very good days ahead. This innings of his is no brainer and has to be everyone’s list. The famous do or die match where India had to win with a bonus point against SL to be alive in the tri-series. India were chasing which meant that the target must be chased down under 40 overs to get the bonus point. Difficult, right? What made it more difficult was that SL batted really well and gave us a target of 321. So all in all to stay alive in the series India had to chase that down in 40 overs i.e a required run rate of 8 runs per over which is almost impossible considering Malinga was at his peak at that time.
Nevertheless, the evergreen pair of Sachin-Sehwag gave a brilliant start to India but unfortunately or fortunately couldn’t continue and India was 86–2 at 9.2 overs. The rate was pretty good but India couldn’t afford to lose many wickets from here. That is what Kohli ensures, playing aggressively but still not doing anything out of the box, he kept it simple and played all proper cricketing shots while keeping the required run rate in check. Then came the famous over, infamous for SL fans, of Lasith Malinga, and mind you he was at his peak at that time bowling to a relatively inexperienced batsman.
34.1 Malinga to Kohli: 2 runs. He whipped a yorker for a couple of runs which took him to his century.
34.2 Malinga to Kohli: 6 runs. The toe crushing Malinga’s yorker was hit for a six over deep mid-wicket. That shot was so fantastic to watch and unbelievable at the same time.
34.3 Malinga to Kohli: 4 runs. A full length ball went like a tracer bullet to the wide long off fence.
34.4 Malinga to Kohli: 4 again. An attempted yorker which turned out to be a low full toss was flicked easily, beating the short fine leg fielder for a boundary.
34.5 Malinga to Kohli: Another 4. Again an attempted yorker turned low full toss and flicked behind square for a boundary. It was almost an action replay of the previous one.
34.6 Malinga to Kohli: 4 runs. It was a flurry of boundaries in that over. Same delivery by Malinga, a low full toss on the pads and Kohli obliges by flicking it again in the same direction for a four.
Malinga’s reputation as the best bowler and the best death bowler took such a beating that night, and especially this over. He was brutally humiliated by Virat Kohli as he scored 24 runs off that over.
In the end, India chased the target down in just 36.4 overs on the back of this one in a lifetime innings by Virat Kohli, and certainly the best of his till date. Yes, I say till date because I don’t mind seeing an even better innings from him.
Credits: Manin Divanji & Cricbuzz