Virat Kohli. You know who he is and everybody (well, almost everybody) loves him. The Indian captain is regarded as one of the finest players of the game and has broken many records. His career has been highlighted by some very special moments. Today, we dissect the one over that bought Kohli into the league of superstars – The ODI against Sri Lanka at Hobart.
India was playing Sri Lanka in a must-win game at Hobart in the Tri-series of 2012. Batting first, Sri Lanka hit a formidable 320 runs and were cruising. India had to chase down the target, but with one catch. They had to do it within 40 overs to gain a bonus point and stay alive in the tournament.
India started well but Sachin and Sehwag both got out in their 30s. Gautam Gambhir managed to keep things in check with a smart 63 off 64 before perishing. However, the match was best remembered when Kohli came on. He threw caution to the wind and began belting the bowlers all around the park. India were able to catch up with the target thanks to his efforts and a supporting act by Raina.
However, in the 35th over, Kohli showed a batting masterclass against Malinga – A bowler regarded at that point in time as the best in the world. We break down the over, ball by ball:
- Ball 1 – 2 runs:
Kohli on 98, hits the ball towards the deep midwicket corner for a double to complete his century. The commentators present call it one of the best ODI centuries of recent times. Kohli soaks in the applause and brings India closer to their target.
- Ball 2 -6 runs:
Having gotten his century, Kohli reads a length ball from Malinga well and swats it high once again over the deep-midwicket corner. The shot is of a man in form and Kohli walks back to face the next one, brimming with confidence.
- Ball 3- 4 runs:
One of the best shots of the tournament was showcased when Kohli faced the third ball of the over. Malinga bowls it outside off stump and Kohli, standing tall, plays a majestic drive hard through covers. The ball races to the boundary and Kohli is still hungry for more.
- Ball 4 – 4 runs:
Fourth ball and you would have thought that Kohli would be happy with providing Raina the strike having already hit 12 runs in the over. But he reads the Yorker from Malinga, shuffles across and flicks the ball to the fine leg boundary, past the fielder inside the circle.
- Ball 5 – 4 runs:
Now looking more than just ominous, Kohli looks like he can choose any boundary at whim and score. However, he stands his ground to the low full toss and plays it to the exact same corner as the ball previously. The commentators go berserk as they’ve not seen anything of this sort.
- Ball 6 – 4 runs:
In the final ball, Kohli decides to do what he just discovered, flick Malinga, once again. Same corner, same result. He walks across and finishes off with another boundary past fine leg. Three in a row.
Thus the entire over bought 22 runs and was heralded as the moment that Kohli was well and truly born into the giant he is today. India won the game in a canter and even had overs to spare.