The 2021 T20 World Cup marked the end of an era for the Indian fans as Virat Kohli stepped down from the captaincy of the national team in the shortest format of the game. Despite the tournament devolving into a sour end for Kohli, the King left behind an impressive legacy.
T20 World Cup has always been a pedestal for Kohli to showcase his best and despite failing to pull off something against New Zealand, he was heroic against Pakistan and almost single-handedly carried the Indian batting against their arch-rivals.
In the T20 World Cup, Virat has so far played 21 matches out of which he batted in 19 innings. He hammered an incredible 845 runs from those games and stayed unbeaten for an overwhelming 8 times. His average read a whopping 76.81 while his strike rate read a decent 129 plus.
The fact that he would only return to the Indian side in the near future to play the role of a batter in which he specializes, we would take a look at the four top knocks of Virat Kohli in the glittering antiquity of the T20 World Cup.
#1 Kohli – 89* from 47 against West Indies, 2016 T20 World Cup semi-final
Sadly, for Virat, the man who was in the form of his life in the 2016 World Cup, the result really didn’t go his way. Facing the formidable Caribbean force in the semis, India was off to a decent start, thanks to Rohit Sharma and Rahane. The duo stitched together 62 runs before Kohli was summoned to carry on his signature onslaught. Kohli’s initial response to the West Indian bowling unit was uncertain as he was wildly slicing at the deliveries peppered at him and was barely able to break free from the manacles. One such wild swing won him his opening boundary as the ball flew to the ropes, dissecting the gap between the keeper and the short third-man. It took Kohli some time to adjust himself to the ongoing storm that saw West Indies slowly climbing back to the game.
Dwayne Bravo, one of the best T20 bowlers gifted him a full-toss and he whacked it powerfully to the deep square leg boundary. Even an athletic and diving Russell found it difficult to prevent the ball from reaching the ropes. He followed up with his vintage square drive that saw Sulieman Benn facing the Indian run-machine’s wrath. With the scoreboard rotating ferociously, Kohli got a taste of blood and had no intentions of stopping. He rained fire upon Carlos Braithwaite and Dwayne Bravo at will. Andre Russell was invited late into the party and the King had no plans of showing mercy to the big man from Jamaica. Despite Bravo pulling off a decent final over, Kohli had got his job done as he finished unbeaten on 89 from just 47 deliveries.
#2 Kohli – 82* from 51 against Australia, 2016 T20 World Cup, Group 2, Super 10
In a must-win clash against the formidable Australians, India needed someone to become a hero and who better than King Kohli to take up the impossible? Despite, Ravindra Jadeja, Ashish Nehra and Yuvraj Singh doing a fine job, the other bowlers were dealt with extreme prejudice. Aaron Finch led the charge for Australia, while Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell and Peter Nevill followed suit. Australia finished their innings on a staggering 160 that seemed pretty herculean to India who had a modest campaign until then. To exacerbate matters for India, Australia dealt a double whammy to the Indians as Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane departed in quick succession. Virat Kohli was out in the middle earlier than he would have anticipated and was already trading deafening blows from the Australian fast bowling attack. By the time he thought that the steadying process of the ship had begun, Watson claimed Suresh Raina, leaving India crippled in the fear of being eliminated.
One of the most reliable World Cup performers for India, Yuvraj Singh joined forces with Kohli and the retaliation began slowly and steadily. As Yuvraj struggled to run with his ankle strapped, Kohli had to look for alternate routes to usher India to the finishing line. Kohli came off his shackles as he damned Maxwell to the stands for the first time in the game and it came on the back of an exceptionally awkward strike. Despite Yuvraj getting out, the stage was set for Kohli to execute his carnage and the Australians were simply cattle-fodder in front of VK’s reigning supremacy. With 39 needed off three overs, Kohli did the unthinkable. The sail to victory started with an emphatic strike against Faulkner as the future Indian captain smacked it in front of the deep backward square leg. The following delivery was once again dispatched to the stands and guess what, it’s almost a yorker. This was just the beginning and Kohli creamed it with a classic hurl into the stands as he pranced down the track and hoicked the ball over the wide long-off boundary. Nathan Coulter-Nile had a forgettable night as he was smashed for 16 runs in his final over of the day and all of it came from the bat of the King. With 4 needed from 6, Dhoni sliced Faulkner hard as he belted a low full-toss to the wide long-on boundary.
#3 Kohli – 78* from 61 against Pakistan, 2012 T20 World Cup, Group 2 game
West Indies was not the only team to lose a wicket against Virat Kohli. Pakistan endured the brilliance of the Indian all-rounder as he rolled his arms for a decent three-over spell and scalped the illustrious Mohammad Hafeez, rather put him out of his misery, as he teetered scoring 15 runs from 28 balls. However, this was just the mere beginning of Kohli’s torment of Pakistan and what was to follow was even worse.
After bundling out Pakistan for a paltry 128, thanks to Balaji, Ashwin and Yuvraj as they shared nine wickets between them, India was jolted to a rude awakening with Gambhir departing for a silver duck. Sehwag played an indiscernible role as he buried the anchor to Kohli’s breezy knock. The duo kept their calm and played effusively in the middle as the Pakistan bowlers struggled to make inroads. After Sehwag had to depart, once again, it was Yuvraj who hung in the middle and played a perfect anchoring knock to Kohli as the latter stitched together a painstaking 78 from 61 balls that starred 8 fours and 2 sixes.
#4 Kohli – 72* from 44 balls against South Africa, 2014 T20 World Cup, semi-final
Cracking a chase of 170 plus with names like Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell and Albie Morkel in the opposition line-up was more or less like an unachievable dream even for the best batters. However, as they say, that heroes are not forged in a bed of roses, they need challenges, flames and nightmares to transcend themselves to the glittering sky of glam, Kohli accepted the gauntlet thrown at his feet and man, he did it in style.
After a decent start against the fast-bowling duo of South Africa, Rohit Sharma fell to Beuran Hendricks as he couldn’t read the slow ball at all and ended up skying it. Kohli needed almost six overs to settle in and take the fight back to the Proteas. He blazed the trail for India’s late carnage as he scorched JP Duminy with a blistering six. What followed thereafter was stuff from the folklore as he kept on running constantly between the wickets and occasionally trade a couple of rollicking haymakers. A sweet partnership between him and Yuvraj helped glide through and any thoughts of Dale Steyn working wonders blew up in smoke as Kohli took it upon himself to deal with the most menacing customer of the opposition line-up.