Virat Kohli 50 ODIs India England 2018
Virat Kohli celebrating his epic hundred in South Africa © Getty Images

On Thursday at Trent Bridge, the three-match ODI series between India and top-ranked England gets underway. The series opener will carry a little bit more significance for one cricketer — Virat Kohli, who will lead India for the 50th time in ODIs. Under 29-year-old Kohli, from 2013 to 2018, the Indian cricket team has won 38 of 48 completed ODIs, giving Kohli a win-loss ratio of 3.8, the best for any captain with a 30-game cut-off. On the eve of Kohli’s 50th ODI as captain, here’s a look at five memorable wins for India under his leadership:

Against West Indies at Port-of-Spain, 2013: India won by 102 runs (D/L method)

Leading India in game four of a tri-series also featuring Sri Lanka, just days after India lifted the ICC Champions Trophy in England under MS Dhoni, Kohli made a strong statement. From No. 3, his 83-ball 102 set up India’s winning total of 311 for 7, and then he marshalled his resources well to inflict a D/L win on the home side. Kohli’s century — which came in his second ODI in charge — featured 13 fours and 2 sixes, but after the match the replacement skipper admitted that India earning a bonus point from the win was what gave him more satisfaction.

Against England at Cuttack, 2017: India won by 15 runs

By this time, Kohli was the full-time captain for India in all formats, with Dhoni retired from Tests and having relinquished the captaincy of the limited-overs teams. And while his contribution to this narrow win was just 15 runs, it is a victory which Kohli could look back on in years to come with plenty of satisfaction. For starters, it wrapped up the series against England 2-0, but it also saw two of his favourite teammates put in stunning contributions.

In trouble at 25 for 3, India were put on course for a dominating 381 for 6 by captivating centuries from comeback man Yuvraj Singh (150) and Dhoni (134) who combined for a 256-run alliance that shifted the momentum firmly away from England. The visitors came close to chasing the target, but ultimately fell short by 15 runs.

Against South Africa at The Oval, 2017: India won by 8 wickets

Needing a win to stay in contention for the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy last summer, India brushed aside South Africa with a dominating performance to ensure a spot in the final four. The tone for this eight-wicket victory was set in the field, chiefly by India’s new-ball pairing of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2 for 23) and Jasprit Bumrah (2 for 28), who applied the squeeze on South Africa’s free-stroking batsmen. The result was that South Africa were dismissed for 191 in 44.3 overs, following which Shikhar Dhawan (78 off 83 balls) and Kohli (76* off 101) ensured that victory was something resembling a cakewalk. India won with a whopping 12 overs to spare.

Against Australia at Kolkata, 2017-18: India won by 50 runs

A big win for India, with Kohli Man of the Match for a rather exceptional 92 on a tack Eden Gardens surface. Australia’s plans to level the scoreline 1-1 were thwarted by Kohli, who shrugged off a poor run of form (46 runs against Australia in 6 innings in 2017) with an innings that threw their bowlers off their lines, courtesy a change of guard. Moving to middle stump, Kohli was able to successfully work the ball into the leg side and looked set for another ODI century until he was cut off on 92. It proved a match-winning innings, for apart from Ajinkya Rahane’s 55 no other Indian batsman crossed 24. The win was headlined, in the end, by a Kuldeep Yadav hat-trick, but this success was scripted by Kohli.

Against South Africa at Cape Town, 2017-18: India won by 124 runs

A landmark 5-0 sweep of South Africa in South Africa — India’s first series win there — was scripted largely by Kohli, who was Man of the Series for scoring 558 runs in 6 innings, with 3 centuries. The best of those was his unbeaten 160 off 159 balls in the third ODI, which ensured that India could not lose the series.

After a close call for lbw by Kagiso Rabada, Kohli produced an innings of rare skill, battling cramps to take India to 303 for 6. During this exceptional hundred, the importance of fitness was on display as Kohli became the first Indian batsman to score 100 runs through running between the wickets. India went on to restrict South Africa to 179.