In the history of One Day International (ODI) cricket, there have been numerous memorable innings played by legendary batsmen. However, one particular innings stands out as a masterclass in chasing and solidified Virat Kohli’s reputation as one of the greatest ODI batsmen of all time. On February 28, 2012, in the Commonwealth Bank Series, India faced Sri Lanka in a do-or-die match in Hobart, Australia. India needed to chase down a daunting target of 321 runs within just 40 overs to keep their hopes alive in the tournament. What followed was an extraordinary display of skill, determination, and sheer brilliance by Virat Kohli.
Sri Lanka’s Dominant Display
The stage was set for a thrilling encounter as Sri Lanka posted an imposing total of 320 runs for the loss of 4 wickets in their allotted 50 overs. Tillakaratne Dilshan led the charge with an unbeaten 160 off 165 balls, while Kumar Sangakkara contributed a magnificent century, scoring 105 off just 87 deliveries. The Indian bowlers toiled hard, but they were unable to contain the Sri Lankan batsmen, who played with great confidence and aggression.
India’s Uphill Battle
India’s task was cut out for them as they stepped onto the field to chase down the mammoth target. The openers, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, provided a blazing start, taking the score to 54 in just 6.2 overs. However, both openers fell quickly, leaving India at 86 for 2. It was then that Virat Kohli walked in to join Gautam Gambhir at the crease, and little did anyone know that they were about to witness a truly extraordinary innings.
The Kohli-Gambhir Partnership
Kohli and Gambhir knuckled down and built a solid partnership, taking India to 201 for 3 at the end of the 27th over. They showed great composure and skill, rotating the strike and finding the boundaries when required. Gambhir played a crucial role, scoring a well-deserved half-century off 64 balls. However, just as it seemed that the momentum was firmly in India’s favor, Gambhir was unfortunately run out on 63, leaving the team with a challenging target of 121 runs off 76 balls.
Kohli’s Magical Display
With the pressure mounting and the required run rate soaring, Virat Kohli shifted gears and unleashed his full repertoire of strokes. He took charge of the innings and dominated the Sri Lankan bowling attack. His shot selection was impeccable, and his timing was immaculate. Kohli’s cover drives were a sight to behold, as he effortlessly pierced the gaps in the field. He used his wrists to great effect, flicking the ball through the leg side with precision and power.
The Malinga Over
One over in particular will forever be etched in the memories of cricket fans around the world. In the 35th over of the Indian innings, Lasith Malinga, the master of yorkers and death overs, came on to bowl. Kohli decided to take the attack to Malinga, and what followed was pure brilliance. He smashed Malinga for three successive boundaries, followed by a massive six, and then four more boundaries to complete an astonishing over that yielded 24 runs. Malinga, known for his ability to bamboozle batsmen, was left stunned as Kohli dismantled his bowling with remarkable ease.
A Historic Victory
Virat Kohli’s heroics propelled India towards an emphatic victory. He remained unbeaten on a magnificent 133 off just 86 deliveries, with his innings including 16 fours and 2 sixes. Suresh Raina also played a crucial cameo, scoring a quickfire 40 off 24 balls. Together, they ensured that India reached the target in just 36.4 overs, winning the match by 7 wickets. It was a historic run chase, as India became only the second team in ODI history to successfully chase down a target of over 300 runs in less than 40 overs.
Kohli’s Impact on ODI Cricket
Virat Kohli’s innings of 133 not out against Sri Lanka in the 2012 CB Series will always be remembered as one of the finest displays of batting in ODI cricket. It was a defining moment in his career, a turning point that showcased his ability to perform under pressure and his insatiable hunger for success. Kohli’s masterclass in chasing paved the way for many more remarkable innings in the years to come, establishing him as the best chaser in the history of ODI cricket.
The Rise of a Legend
Since that unforgettable innings in 2012, Virat Kohli has gone on to achieve remarkable success in ODI cricket. He has amassed over 12,000 runs at an average of nearly 58, with 46 centuries to his name. His consistency, technique, and ability to adapt to different conditions have set him apart from his peers. Kohli’s hunger for runs and his relentless pursuit of excellence have earned him the reputation of being the best all-format batter of the modern generation.
Virat Kohli’s 133 not out against Sri Lanka in the 2012 CB Series will forever be etched in the annals of cricket history. It was an innings that showcased his immense talent, determination, and ability to perform under pressure. Kohli’s masterclass in chasing down a challenging target of 321 runs in just 40 overs was a testament to his skill and temperament. It was a turning point in his career, propelling him towards greater heights and cementing his place among the all-time greats of the game. As cricket fans, we were privileged to witness such a remarkable display of batting prowess, and it will be remembered as one of the greatest innings in the history of ODI cricket.