On Wednesday, in Paarl, Virat Kohli, batting for the first time as a non-captain since 2017, scored a fluent half-century in the first ODI against South Africa that the hosts eventually won by 31 runs.
Virat Kohli scored 51 runs off 63 balls. He stroked 3 boundaries and his running between the wickets and regular rotation of strike once again was a highlight of his knock in a chase of 297.
The former captain forged a crucial 92-run second-wicket stand with Shikhar Dhawan. However, the fall of Dhawan, at the score of 138/1, initiated a slide for India as they slipped to 199/7. Shardul Thakur did hit some late blows and raised his fifty but it was all too late by then.
Kohli’s knock – of 51 runs where he failed to convert his fifty into a century – once again gave his critics a chance to pronounce his lack of century and his inability to convert a half-century into a three-figure score over more than two years now.
Virat Kohli fans were taking none of the critics this time as they – in huge numbers, unsurprisingly – pointed out that though Virat Kohli hadn’t been at his best, he has been consistent in notching up half-centuries in ODI cricket.
Since the start of 2020, Virat Kohli has slammed 8 ODI fifties in 13 innings – a staggering statistic that has often been getting ignored because of no three-figure score in this time. His ODI average is 47 since 2020 while batting at a strike rate of 89.
Similar to Wednesday, it is the middle-order around Virat Kohli that has at times failed to pile up on the platform provided by the former captain.
Following his knock, Virat Kohli fans came out in huge numbers to slam any critic who said that the right-hander is out of form or hasn’t been scoring well. They reminded people that Kohli himself has set the bar very high with his dominance and consistency for the better part of the past decade.
You can understand the greatness of Virat Kohli from the fact that no one values his half-centuries, If he gets out even after scoring a half century, people reacts as if he is out of form.
— Vishnu ? (@MasterVKohli) January 19, 2022
Virat Kohli has scored 9 fifties in last 14 ODIs and 5 fifties in last 6 ODIs. Just because he hasn’t scored a century in a while, people think he’s out of form, but he’s doing a great job despite not being at his best.
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) January 19, 2022
Virat Kohli’s last 13 ODI innings:
705 runs in 13 inings
Avg 54.23 runs in one inings fire ?????
Virat Kohli out of form ?
Out of ? only #SAvIND #ODIs #ViratKohli pic.twitter.com/MGJ2wckMMo
— संजय यदुवंशी (@yaduvnshiSanjay) January 20, 2022
Virat Kohli now has most ODI runs by Indians at the opposition’s home.
5108 – Virat Kohli
5065 – Sachin Tendulkar
4520 – MS Dhoni
3998 – Rahul Dravid
3468 – Sourav Ganguly
Kohli’s average of 58.04 is also the highest of all Indians who batted at least five innings away.#SAvIND
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) January 19, 2022
out of form Kohli’s last 6 ODI innings
51, 7, 66, 56, 63 ,89
His standards are much bigger ??#SAvIND ? pic.twitter.com/AaJsJnPsLy
— eXpLoReR (@_texplorer) January 19, 2022
Virat Kohli is now the highest run-getter in away ODI’s for India. He overtakes Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 5065 runs!
— Prajakta (@18prajakta) January 19, 2022
Still the best average in whole team ?? Out of form for last two years ? king Kohli for You ? pic.twitter.com/Xrw5QXfBh5
— Tashfeen (@Tashfee85461589) January 19, 2022
Centuries from Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen set up South Africa’s total of 296 which India fell 31 short of. The second ODI is scheduled for Friday at the same venue.
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