Home > Features >

Virat Kohli’s World T20 semi-final knock shows the importance of singles and twos

Virat Kohli emphasised on singles being as important as sixes in T20 cricket © Getty Images
Virat Kohli emphasised on singles being as important as sixes in T20 cricket © Getty Images

Virat Kohli’s innings against South Africa reflects the true value of singles and twos in Twenty20 (T20) cricket. In the slam-bang version of the game, one may overlook the basic returns with an eye on the boundaries. Nishad Pai Vaidya discusses how Kohli’s gem helped India and what it says about pacing an innings.

How important are singles and twos in Twenty20s (T20s). In a mad rush that is T20 cricket, batsmen often tend to target the boundaries and may disregard the importance of the smaller returns. But, ask Virat Kohli about it and he will tell you the importance of rotating strike. “I believe, a single is as important as a six in T20s,” said Kohli after his brilliant innings against South Africa helped India sail into the final of the ICC World T20 2014. Kohli’s innings was a perfect example of his theory.

Consider this: Out of Kohli’s first fifty runs, he had only scored 16 in boundaries i.e. one four and two sixes. He had walked in to bat at the end of the fourth over, and helped India maintain pace without taking too many risks. If you watched him bat at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium, you wouldn’t have realised when he made it through to the 30s, as he was knocking the ball around in the gaps and pushing hard for singles and twos. For quite a while, it looked as if he was getting his eye in, but by then he had raced to a significant score.

It was the way Kohli placed the ball that stood out. Using his wrists, he would dab it on the leg-side with the men back on the fence. As a result, he could push his partner for the second and get there quite easily. As he said in the press conference, he went to 20 in 17 balls without taking risks or hitting boundaries. At that stage, a boundary or two could push his strike rate up by some distance and put the opposition under pressure. And, as India had to score at around 8.5 runs an over, his initial move to knock it around did keep the required-rate under control. He was of course helped by the initial surge provided by Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane.

It wasn’t just the fact that he took singles, but the manner in which he took singles that helped India. A batsmen may start off slowly, but then get bogged down and try to hit. Kohli was assured right through and there was an inherent aggression in the way he picked his runs. There was an assured plan and the body language was positive, not allowing the pressure get the better of him. Plus, his innings also set the stage, wherein India needed 40 off the last four, which makes it anybody’s game. That allows someone like a Suresh Raina to wield his willow around and power the final surge.

For a man to adopt this strategy, it requires tremendous belief and confidence. But, the basic principle in any format has been to keep the scoreboard ticking. As Kohli said, you can push a few twos in an over and then if you get a boundary ball, it suddenly becomes a fantastic over for you. Compare that with someone who may try to smash every other ball. Firstly, there is a chance he may throw his wicket away and secondly, he may not connect and concede too many dots. It is quite fascinating that not many batsmen realize the true value of singles in T20 cricket.

ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 5 at Southampton: Moeen Ali returns to torment India

Moeen Ali spins India into trouble: Will he stun them again on Day 5 at Southampton?

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How an Indian fan remembers the South African legend

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: A symbol of genius encompassing almost two decades

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Moeen Ali registers maiden five-wicket haul for England against India in 3rd Test at Southampton

Moeen Ali’s twin strikes brings England close to win over India in 3rd Test at Southampton

India steady after early blows against England on Day 5 of 3rd Test at Southampton

Sri Lanka announce squad for Pakistan Test series

Michael Clarke launches cricket academy

10 little known facts about Jacques Kallis

Moeen Ali spins India into trouble: Will he stun them again on Day 5 at Southampton?

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How an Indian fan remembers the South African legend

A Harry Potter XI

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India’s lacklustre performance, Moeen Ali’s rise as a spinner and other highlights of play on Day 4

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Jacques Kallis retires: SACA, cricketers pay rich tribute

Exclusive: This is the OnePlus OneWatch [photos]

Aahana Kumra: I Was not nervous to work with Amitabh Bachchan!

Michael Clarke to start cricket academy

Moto Maxx could be Motorola’s next smartphone

Sajid Nadiadwala celebrates success of Kick!

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here