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Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have had a contrasting start to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 © Getty Images

The responsibility of winning the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 rests on the shoulders of Virat Kohli for India and AB de Villiers for South Africa. Pramod Ananth tells you why the form of both batsmen is key to the success of their teams.

India vice-captain and South Africa skipper AB de Villiers are the two most hard-hitting batsmen in world cricket today. Kohli made his debut in 2008 and in these five years has established himself as the best batsmen in the world. AB de Villiers is not far behind as he averages well over 50 and more often than not, he’s the one who gets his team out of trouble. .ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: POINTS TABLE 

Kohli in his short career so far has already won two major trophies as a part of the Indian team. The first was the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, which India won at home and followed it up with a victory in ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in England. Now, Kohli has gotten himself off to a bright start in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, after slamming a century against arch-rivals Pakistan and followed it up with a 46 against South Africa in the second game. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: SCHEDULE & MATCH DETAILS

De Villiers has shouldered the responsibility of captaincy extremely well since he took over from Graeme Smith, but their start to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has been shaky. South Africa managed to win their first match against Zimbabwe comprehensively, but his performances with the bat haven’t been convincing. He made 25 against Zimbabwe and 30 against India at a time when his team needed more from him. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Complete Coverage

De Villiers has the ability to get going right from the first delivery he faces. He also plays some unconventional shots when you least expect it. He can sweep a fast bowler over the square leg boundary for a six and can also reverse sweep them towards the third man fence for a four. He can change the state of a match so quickly that the bowling team is often dumbstruck. Who can forget de Villiers’ record-breaking century he scored against West Indies in Johannesburg recently?

One got to see the entire repertoire of shots de Villiers is capable of playing. From shots over the top of the bowler’s head, pulls, hooks, sweeps and also reverse sweeps. His 44-ball 149 was easily one of the best innings played in One-Day Internationals (ODI), if not the best.

Kohli on the other hand, is more of a conventional batsman. He assesses the situation first and gets himself in before playing explosive shots. His strike rate of close to 90 is proof that he makes up for the dot balls he plays out in the beginning of the innings. But Kohli has on a couple of occasions surprised his fans with his batting. His innings against Sri Lanka in Hobart in 2012 was one such example. India needed to chase down a target of around 320 in 40 overs to gain a bonus point and staying alive in the competition and Kohli was the chief architect, who got them there with an unbeaten 133 of just 86 deliveries . He smashed Lasith Malinga for 24 runs off one over in that very match.

Kohil, unlike de Villiers doesn’t resort to unorthodox shots, be it any format of the game. He has belief in his own shots and doesn’t feel the need to try anything out of the box and has been successful so far. De Villiers believes in keeping the bowlers guessing at all times and unleashes his shots at will. Their performances at the top of the batting line-up are going determine the fate of their respective sides.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)