So, Virat Kohli did it again. What? You may ask. Well, he scored yet another century to win a game for India when they had to chase down a huge target in a crucial game. Chasing down a target in excess of 350 in ODIs is still a fairly rare occurrence in that particular form of the game but India surpassed such targets with ridiculous ease not once, but twice in the recent series against Australia and on both those occasions, there was a common thread running through both those record breaking run chases – Virat Kohli . In the first one at Jaipur he hit a century in 52 balls to knock the stuffing out of the Australian bowlers as India cantered home in 43 overs in their quest for 360 runs and the second one came today as he stroked a sublime 115 (66) to guide the chase till the end.
Since the tour of Australia in 2011-12, Virat Kohli has had a transformation that has now made him into one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world and no opposition can now rest easy with any sort of total in an ODI game if the feisty Delhiite is at the crease. He morphs classical Test match strokeplay, technique and bristling aggression to create a potent cocktail of a deadly limited overs batsman, who cannot be contained through the traditional methods of a slower ball or a yorker. Moreover, it would be foolhardy to dismiss his efforts as the case of a batsman who is on form, since he has been doing it for 2 years straight and to continue to do that on such a consistent basis requires a different sort of talent and discipline. When Kohli is on song, the best of bowlers do not have an answer to his blazing blade.
As a matter of fact, he took the current King of Yorkers to the cleaners in that game in Hobart when India had to chase down 321 in 40 overs. The team reached the target in 36 overs and Mallinga was hit to all parts of the Bellerive Oval for 96 runs in 7.4 overs. The Sri Lankan ace had never been treated as savagely in the past and since. Since then he has played one memorable innings after another and perhaps the best of the lot remains the one against Pakistan in the Asia Cup when he scored a marvelous 183* to take India past a 300 plus target yet again and once again it was against a very strong bowling unit.
These have been some of the highlights of his ODI career so far, but what often goes unnoticed is his numbers and the numbers lay bare the sort of a match winner he is and will surely continue to be in the years to come. So far in his career, 11 of his 17 centuries have been scored when India were chasing a target and on each of those occasions India ended up on the winning side. There is hardly any batsman in world cricket who has ever had such a record and that sort of a statistic clearly shows that Kohli is a batsman who dominates the opposition and wins the game for his team. In a nutshell, when India is chasing a target and Kohli is in the middle, then India cannot lose.