Home > Features >

Virat Kohli’s knock in World T20 final underlined his claims to greatness

Virat Kohli's patience was tested on a sluggish wicket with some accurate bowling from the Sri Lankans © Getty Images
Virat Kohli’s patience was tested on a sluggish wicket with some accurate bowling from the Sri Lankans © Getty Images

If Virat Kohli’s spellbinding knock in the semi-final was the mark of genius, the innings he essayed in the final underlines his claims to greatness — writes Arunabha Sengupta.

The 44-ball 72 in the semi-final was an innings throbbing with talent and audacity, several flashes of genius that merged together into a glittering gem. The 58-ball 77 in the final was perhaps not as sparkling through its entire course. Indeed there were phases during which the ball did not quite hit the middle of the bat, the impeccable strategy of the Sri Lankans dried up the favourite areas of stroke-play and seemed to shackle his style.

Yet, if the magnificence in the semi-final underlined yet again that Virat Kohli was special, it was the knock in the final that stamped his claims to greatness.

International sports is seldom a cakewalk. There are occasions when the soaring form dips into the realms of mediocrity. The same arc of the bat, that on the best day sends balls screaming to the fence and brings spectators to their feet with intoxicated cheers, can sometimes find timing too awry to beat the circle. Not always will there be an abundance of balls bowled in one’s favourite areas. Sometimes, as on Sunday evening, the opposition bowlers can be incredibly accurate and choke the runs down to a trickle.

Every batsman comes up against these obstacles and the truly great find a way around them.

Kohli, on the night of the final, found it difficult to get going. There was one imperious stroke early on, the ball dismissed from the off-stump past the mid-on with a contemptuous whip of the wrists. But, the innings did not rev immediately on ignition. Kohli could not really blaze away in his signature manner from the start. The first 18 balls saw him move sedately to 13, the strokes lacked the customary crispness, the deceptive bowling had him in a spot of bother. One mistimed pull off Rangana Herath was put down at mid-wicket by Lasith Malinga.

And Kohli, aided by this slice of luck, managed to regain his touch.The challenge of Twenty20 cricket is that it is too brief, there is littletime for adjustment, for rediscovery, during the course of an innings. Yet,Kohli managed to turn things around within a few deliveries. The Lankans continued to bowl superbly, but Kohli had soon found the way to time the ball once again, to find the gaps, to again become the fearsome threat he always is with the willow.

Some boundaries were contrived, like the steer to third-man off Malinga. Some others were murderously executed, like the flat sixes down the ground or that thundering drive through the covers off Nuwan Kulasekara. In spite of his sluggish start, Kohli managed to race to his fifty in 43 balls and added a further 27 in the remaining 15.

The difference between him and the rest of the batting was yawning. Kohli’s 77 came in 58 balls and the rest of the side managed 47 from 62. Even if we discount Yuvraj Singh’s harrowing time in the middle, it is fair to say that Kohli’s effort stood ahead of the all the othersby some distance — the difference between the good and the great.

Yes, India lost the match — and the focus understandably zeroed in on Yuvraj for his glacial 11 from 21 balls. However, there was plenty of silver lining for the Indians because at the other end, Kohli carvedout a fantastic new niche for himself.

On his day, Kohli is without doubt one of the best batsmen of the world. What he amply demonstrated during the final was that he can be almost as devastating even when off-colour. A rare gem indeed.

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Steve O’Keefe and other Test cricketers with apostrophes in their surnames

Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Geoff Marsh and other Father-Son trios to have played Test cricket

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Why did Mohammad Hafeez go for a shocking review?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Live Streaming: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Live Cricket Score: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Live Scorecard: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Teams display confidence ahead of the World Cricket League Division 3

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

Joginder Sharma: When an over eclipses a career

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here