Why Kohli's the Knockout King of the T20 realm...

Source :SIFY
Last Updated: Mon, Mar 21st, 2016, 16:18:31hrs
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Why Kohli's the Knockout King of the T20 realm...
If it's a T20 and a knockout match, then who are you going to turn to? King Kohli of course!

Virat is the man who is making the T20 realm his very own. He's zoomed ahead of the pack and there's no close second.

Kohli has a phenomenal average of 53.6 in international T20s. To make you understand how special this is, after that we have Aussie Aaron Finch and Faf du Plessis as 39 point somethings. There’s absolutely nobody in the 40s and 50s except Kohli. What an exclusive club!

In 2016 Kohli's innings are: 90*, 59*, 50, 7, 49, 56*, 41*, 23 and 55*! That's an average of 107.5, which would be phenomenal even for Test cricket! But more than records and statistics is Kohli's ability to churn out match-winning innings in crunch situations!

For example in 2012, when we were trailing against Australia and Pakistan 0-1 in those T20 series, Kohli chipped in with useful knocks of 31(24) and 27(22) to help us square both series 1-1.

But he really came into his own in the ICC Champions Trophy of 2013 in England. The final should have been a 50-over match, but was reduced to a 20-over match due to rain. In this virtual T20, Kohli top scored on both sides 43(34) in a low scoring match where England failed to chase a modest target of 130. It was as if Kohli was batting on a different pitch!

In the 2014 T20 World Cup semi-final, South Africa made a formidable 172-4, but Kohli made mincemeat of the total with an unbeaten 72 off just 44. In the final India made an abysmal 130-4 in 20 overs.

Sri Lanka scraped through with 134 at the end of the 18th over. And Kohli? He top-scored with 77 off 58. Had Indian batsmen given a bit more support, we could have well won our second T20 World Cup then.

We had a slump in 2015 and again Kohli took us out at the beginning of 2016. His unbeaten 59 off 33 helped India take an unbeatable 2-0 lead against Australia as we posted a formidable 184-3.

In the third match we chased 198 with Australia to make it 3-0, the first time they had been whitewashed thus in their entire history! Again Kohli was one of the two half-century makers from India.

In the Asia Cup final, we made light of the chase with Bangladesh and again Kohli was unbeaten on 41 off 28! He has already become the most consistent T20 batsman in the history of cricket!

It is in the backdrop of this that you could have predicted with mechanical precision that Kohli would be the man of the match in the must-win tie at Eden Gardens in the 2016 T20 World Cup.

We lost our inaugural match with New Zealand. That wouldn't have been a big deal unless our run rate hadn't been so pathetic. It became -2.35. That's huge in T20 world. What that meant is that we had to win our remaining three matches to qualify.

So the match with Pakistan became a virtual knockout.

And what does Mr Kohli do in a T20 knockout? He blasts the opposition to smithereens!

While chasing a low target of 119 in 18 overs, India collapsed to 23-3 in 4.4 overs. It all seemed lost, but then Kohli was there and the Indian fan knew if there was a Houdini to get us out of the mess, then it had to be Kohli!

And get us out he did with Yuvraj Singh. Yuvi survived a hat-trick ball and in the seventh over the duo hit a crucial 12 runs and put India on the victory path. Yuvi has been patchy in recent times, but his partnership with Kohli of 61 runs did the trick for India.

In the end Kohli remained not out on 55 off a mere 37 balls and all the bowlers of the world are suddenly find him a huge thick wall when India is in crunch situations. There have been many Walls in Test cricket for India.

Sunil Gavaskar was called that in the 1970s and Sanjay Manjrekar in the 1990s before Rahul Dravid owned the term and still does.

But Kohli is probably the only Wall in T20 cricket!

What Don Bradman is to Test cricket, Kohli is to T20 cricket and the best part for India is that he is just 27 and "Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost!"

The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here

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