“Despite a little struggle, Kohli was brimming with energy and when he smashed the last two deliveries of the innings for a six and a boundary, he only gave a testament to his horse like fitness and stamina”.
Is Virat Kohli human? Is he a super-human? Or, is he an alien? Well, he is just an ordinary man with some extraordinary skills. Saying that Virat Kohli scores centuries on a consistent basis would be an understatement. He is a beast in shorter formats and have now stamped his authority in South Africa with two ODI tons in three games. Prior to the start of this series, Kohli didn’t have a single ODI century under his belt on South African soil, but now he has two.
India romped home with another convincing 124-run victory to gain an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the six-match series. Kohli once again played a key role behind India’s victory and steered his side to a formidable position with the bat. He once again played an innings that turned the game on its head. This was Kohli’s 34th ODI ton and has been achieving this milestone at a brisk pace.
One thing about Kohli’s batting that he is a quick learner, he rectifies his errors quickly and learns from his mistakes. His game is always improving with every outing and has been a good student. There is hardly anything that Kohli hasn’t mastered, he is the undisputed king of white ball cricket and has proved his credentials time and again.
The burden of captaincy has not bogged Kohli down, he has led the side with an example, from the front. He thrives under pressure and his prolific run as a skipper is just a testament to his supremacy. This was also Kohli’s 12th ODI ton as skipper, which overhauled Sourav Ganguly’s tally of 11 centuries. The fact that he achieved the feat in just 43 innings is staggering.
Kohli has almost every shot in his textbook, and banks on orthodox technique and stroke-making, which is also one of the key reasons behind his success. He has the hunger to convert and never looks satisfied. He hardly plays a rash stroke and looks to play along with the ground, putting a huge prize on his wicket and his early kill is no less than a boon to the opposition.
One shouldn’t forget, Kohli is well capable of clearing the boundaries with ease, but he seldom takes the aerial route. He believes in running hard between the wickets and often builds an innings on singles and doubles. At Cape Town, Kohli played the longest innings of his ODI career, confronting 159 deliveries. In his knock of 160, he garnered 100 runs by running between the wickets and just 60 came off boundaries, which is a testament to his relentless running.
Once he gets a start, Kohli will ensure that it is converted into a substantial score. He looks to achieve one milestone after the other. At Cape Town, India were asked to bat first. After Rohit Sharma’s duck, Kohli walked out in the very second over. He stitched a good partnership with Shikhar Dhawan of 140 runs to weather the early storm and put pressure back on South Africa.
After Dhawan’s dismissal, India kept losing wickets at regular intervals and none of the Indian batsmen got going. Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni got starts but didn’t convert. Kedar Jadhav got out while trying to play a cheeky stroke. Kohli stood his ground, he didn’t throw his wicket away. India needed a recognised batsman to stay till the end and Kohli ensured that the job was done.
Kohli wasn’t satisfied with just 50 or 100. When wickets started tumbling, Kohli needed to reassess the strategy, which he did with perfection. This is a sign of a champion batsman, who reads the situation properly and adapts in no time. Eventually, India crossed the 300-run mark and the only man who made it possible was the Indian skipper.
“International runs are never easy. They are hard earned. Some might come on more batting-friendly pitches, but I think with their attack, and the pace and bounce they were getting initially, you had to adjust your game. The wicket got considerably slower after the 30th over, so you had to again adjust your game, and make sure with wickets falling also it was pleasing from the point of view that we want someone to bat through the innings. And I was able to do that today. That feels really good that we could get to 300-plus compared to 275-plus. That is psychologically a big pressure thing for the opposition knowing that we have those two wrist-spinners as well,” Kohli said in a post-match press conference.
“I was pleased from that point of view that I was able to bat through because I was struggling with a bit of cramp around the 90s. The wickets kept falling, I decided to hit out, because I thought I might not have enough energy left. Then amazing things can happen when you are thinking team all the time. You can push your body beyond limits that you might not push yourself otherwise. I experienced that today, and that was an amazing feeling,” Kohli added.
Despite a little struggle, Kohli was brimming with energy and when he smashed the last two deliveries of the innings for a six and a boundary, he only gave a testament to his horse like fitness and stamina. He now has 318 runs from three games and holds the record for scoring the most number of runs by an Indian batsman against South Africa in a series. With three games to go, expect some fireworks from Kohli’s willow and new records being scripted.