Virat Kohli at his Best in ICC World Cup 2023
In a World Cup match, India’s last victory over New Zealand was in 2003. The tallest target they have faced in the competition was 274 for victory. The bowlers were in a better position because of the ongoing falling wickets. Even though there was fog, Dharamsala didn’t feel uneasy. Their only worry was Virat Kohli hundred, and they appeared to be confident about the outcome. The attitude was encapsulated by Mohammed Siraj, the pacer, after the game: “Jab Virat Kohli batting kar rahe the, hume koi tension nahi thi.” (We didn’t worry about the result till King Kohli was batting).
Even though Virat Kohli missed the hundred to tie Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI tons, he made sure that India continued to win after five matches and soared to the top of the standings. It was not as fluid as his knock against Bangladesh in Pune. It wasn’t nearly as intense as the one he faced in Chennai versus Australia, when he basically went into Test mode. Nestled between the two, the approach was timed just so as the chase became increasingly difficult with wickets falling at the other end.
When Rohit Sharma smashed Trent Boult for four on the opening ball of the innings to begin the chase against New Zealand in Dharamsala on Sunday, any nerves in India would calm down quickly. The faith was reinforced even more when he came out of the crease to smash the ball over long on in the next over. The Indian captain had already established the tone for India’s pursuit by the time he edged a harmless Lockie Ferguson slower ball to his stumps.
Then his predecessor assumed command. The HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala was packed when Rohit scored a boundary, but Kohli’s punch-drive really brought the house down. In a strokeplay show featuring several highlights from Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul, India appeared to be coasting to 274. up until it didn’t. Once more, Iyer got stranded off a short ball. Rahul was unable to save himself on a pitch that lost bounce as the game went on, not even by shifting outside the crease. Additionally, Suryakumar Yadav was misled by Kohli in a “yes-no” exchange.
The hosts may have made many more mistakes throughout the chase. The Indian number three delivered another one of his ODI legendary knocks to virtually send the Indian juggernaut into the semifinals. It would go down to the wire.
When he discussed a few elements he believed made the One-Day International (ODI) format unique on Saturday, India’s head coach Rahul Dravid virtually gave it away. “It’s also a skill when someone like Virat Kohli rotates the strike in the middle overs.” Running between the wickets accounted for 51 of his 95 runs on Sunday, which was the cornerstone of his innings. The key to extending Kohli’s stay to the very end was strike rotation.
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The bounds would mostly depend on what appeared to be the opposing team’s strategy for getting rid of him. a constant width providing beyond the off stump. In the current World Cup cycle, Kohli had nicked behind this delivery far too often; on Sunday, however, he finally managed to middle it. When he didn’t, it seemed purposeful—like Boult’s slower cutter. Initially, attempting to hit it through mid off, Kohli would gently open his bat to create an edge that would run down the short third for four as the ball straightened and gripped.
In other cases, he appeared too skilled to miss any of the deliveries made from the center of the willow in that hallway. Similar to the stunning cover drive, he defeated Ferguson early in his knockout. Alternately, you could dance down the track off Matt Henry to split the two fielders at midoff and extra cover. Without a doubt, the poorly executed delivery by Rachin Ravindra, which he hammered inside out over further cover to score one of his two maximums. It got better than the other.
How many times has he used the bowler’s angle to his advantage, depositing the ball all the way over the ropes without using any footwork? Trent Boult would have to accommodate the round-the-wicket angle now that ball movement was eliminated from the picture. Even though he managed to avoid hitting it too short and wide, Kohli managed to cleanly pick it off with a quick belly stretch and a flat pull over cow corner. By the time he faked the shot, there was little chance left of another upset against the Kiwis.
Now that only 13 out of the final 23 required to win, the boisterous Dharamsala crowd was cheering for a historic occasion in ODI cricket history. That was not to be, as five runs short of No 49, Kohli holed one off Henry straight to deep mid. At the moment, Sachin Tendulkar is the only one standing atop the ODI hundred mountain. Under the Himalayas, however, Kohli’s ODI stature increased by one inch.