Video: When Virat Kohli’s furious knock of 133 not out stunned Sri Lanka

February 28, 2012, was the day when India’s one of the best batsmen Virat Kohli scripted his name in the history of One-Day Internationals (ODI) cricket with his high voltage performance against Sri Lanka at Hobart. It was probably the best chase by Indian team in ODIs which is remembered mostly because of Kohli’s epic knock.

This was the 11th match of the Commonwealth Bank Series between India and Sri Lanka at Bellerive Oval, Hobart, where team India needed to win with bonus point to remain alive in the hunt for final. Indian skipper MS Dhoni elected to field first after winning the toss. The run feast began with Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan’s batting, who remained unbeaten till the end. Dilshan’s knock of 160 runs from 165 balls was not an aggressive one, which he is known for but it looked a very calm, composed and mature innnings. Along with him, Kumar Sangakkara too scored a century and helped Sri Lanka reach a huge total of 320.

It looked almost impossible for any team to chase such a big total under 40 overs against a side which has world class bowlers like Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, and Angelo Mathews. But the Indian team had nothing to lose and the only way to go was bat fearlessly. India got a good start with Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar both firing quick runs at the top but both got out in their thirties. India were two wicket down for 86 runs in 9.2 overs.

From there on, south paw Gautam Gambhir and Kohli began their hunt and kept hammering Sri Lankan bowlers fro boundaries. There is a saying, “If you wan’t to win then attack at your opponent’s strength”, and similarly Kohli did by attacking Sri Lanka’s best bowler at that time —Malinga. In between Gambhir got out after scoring an intelligent 63 from 64 balls at the score of 201 from 27.3 overs.

Further Kohli was accompanied by another south paw Suresh Raina and then both the batsmen went blitzkrieg as they added 118 runs inside 10 overs. Raina scored a quick 40 from 24 and Kohli remained unbeaten on 133 from 86 deliveries, team India chased down the humungous total of 321 in just 36.4 overs. This was the most successful run chase in the history of ODI cricket in terms of balls spared. Kohli’s strike rate of 154.65 is the third highest for an Indian batsman while chasing. Apart from batting, Sri Lankan bowler Malinga was hammered for 96 runs in his 7.4 overs with one wicket.

Irrespective of how badly Indian team played that summer in Australia, this epic knock by Kohli and the sheer determination showed by Indian batsman while chasing this target probably made their fans forget their previous bad performances.

Team India got the bonus points and now they had to wait for the next match result which was played between Australia and Sri Lanka. India could have qualified for the finals if Sri Lanka would have lost their next match against Australia but it wasn’t to be as the latter suffered a close defeat.

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with Criclife.com. He can be followed at abhicricket.kumar and @abhishekkr2593)