Virat Kohli has a knack of scoring runs and getting tenacious hundreds in difficult conditions. He is hailed as the undisputed king of shorter formats and today he just gave a testament to it. Although he had some luck riding in his favour, but fortune always favours the brave and Kohli didn’t look short of confidence and determination. This was Kohli’s 200th ODI outing and he made it memorable by plundering his 31st ODI ton. Kohli is now second on the list of most number of ODI centuries after Sachin Tendulkar, who has 49 under his belt. With this outing, Kohli overhauled Ricky Ponting’s tally of 30 ODI tons.
With the series being played at home, many expected Virat Kohli and Co to do well in familiar conditions and inflict massive damage on the touring Kiwis. But the pitch at Wankhede was competitive and had a lot to offer for the bowlers. Batting on this wicket was difficult and one needed to bid time at the crease in order to get going.
— Mohammad Shami (@MdShami11) October 22, 2017
The very first delivery by Tim Southee saw some swing, and Trent Boult was always going to be a threat in these conditions. Boult produced a gem of a spell with the new ball and sent both the Indian openers back inside six overs. Rohit Sharma looked good, but floundered after a good start and so did Dhawan. After Dhawan’s fall, Indian skipper Virat Kohli walked out in the middle.
It wasn’t easy to get going straight away on this pitch, Boult was in the middle of an incredible spell and Kohli did show respect. He bid his time and got his eyes in while Rohit Sharma departed for 20. By now, it was clearly evident that if India have to reach a competitive total then Kohli needs to get big runs.
Kohli looked extremely cautious and tried to weather the early storm along with Kedar Jadhav, but the latter floundered for 12. Dinesh Karthik walked in, but the pressure only increased on Kohli. He wasn’t taking too many risks and ran hard for his runs. While batting on 29, Kohli drove the ball a bit early as a result of which, the ball went straight to Mitchell Santner at covers. It was a simple catch though, but Santner was not able to judge it and ended up dropping a lolly.
When Kohli got a reprieve in such situation, many anticipated him to make his chances count and make the most of it. Karthik and Kohli kept the scoreboard ticking and pounced on deliveries in his zone, he brought up his fifty in the 25th Over. Kohli has an uncanny knack of converting fifties into hundreds and on this occasion, his team was in desperate need of one.
Karthik and Kohli stitched a much-needed 73-run stand, but just when things were settling down for India, Karthik was dismissed. Kohli remained unaffected and continued his good run. He was brimming with energy and looked extremely focused. The conditions out there in Wankhede was pretty hot, 32 degree Celsius when the game started, to be precise. Players were perspiring, it wasn’t easy to bat under the sun and the fact that sunsets in the Arabian Sea near Wankhede keeps the ground warmer for a while as compared to other venues away from the west coast of India.
Kohli tried to rebuild with Dhoni, but another Indian batsman bit the dust after an emphatic start. Kohli puts his fitness on the line in situations like this, which was clearly evident in this innings. While batting on 98, he ran like a horse for a single and didn’t show any sign of him being tired.
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 22, 2017
When he pulled a short delivery off Southee in the 45th over, Kohli became the second batsman to have scored a ton on his 200th ODI. He shifted gears in no time and was now in Twenty20 mode. Kohli played some beautiful strokes throughout his innings and was dismissed in the final over while trying to heave one over long on. His innings was brimming with dedication, stamina and skills. He demonstrated some beautiful strokes throughout the innings, especially in the death overs. He had the energy and stamina to bat for another 50 overs in draining conditions.
Kohli’s innings was a fine demonstration of excellent batsmanship under testing conditions. He led the side with example and stepped up. Boult looked unstoppable, but Kohli soon realised he needs to play him out and play the anchor’s role. There was a battle within a battle, but Kohli managed to survive a deadly spell from Boult.
Kohli helped India set a competitive target on a difficult Wankhede wicket. He got another century on a surface, where his imminent peers struggled to convert. Kohli gave his bowlers a chance to battle with a much-needed ton. He has a magnificent record against New Zealand; he has taken the least number of innings (17) to score 1000 runs against the Kiwis.
— Jonty Rhodes (@JontyRhodes8) October 22, 2017
But sadly, the hundred in 200th ODI match did not prove to be a match-winning one as Ross Taylor and Tom Latham overshadowed Kohli’s feat with a staggering partnership. For the first time, India have lost a match in India despite Kohli’s ton.