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On This Day - February 28, 2012: Kohli Announces Himself With Stunning Chase

On This Day - February 28, 2012: Kohli Announces Himself With Stunning Chase

On This Day in Hobart in 2012, Virat Kohli announced himself on the international stage with a breathtaking hundred against Sri Lanka. Kohli's unbeaten 133 off just 86 deliveries helped India chase down the target of 320 within 37 overs keeping their chances alive in the tournament.

It was India against Sri Lanka in the Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia in 2012. India elected to field first and their task was cut out after Sri Lanka posted a huge 320 for the loss of 4 wickets in their allotted 50 overs. Their innings was built around the two centurions – Tillakaratne Dilshan who remained unbeaten on 160 off 165 balls and Kumar Sangakkara who hammered 105 off 87 deliveries. To keep their chances in the series alive India had to chase down the target within 40 overs which basically meant they had to score at a run rate of 8 runs per over – not an easy proposition against any opposition leave alone one which comprised the likes of Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath amongst others.

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India were given a blazing start by Virender Sehwag. He scored 30 off just 16 deliveries before being dismissed in the seventh over with the score already at 54. Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar took the score to 86 in the 10th over before the Little Master was dismissed. Virat Kohli joined Gambhir at the crease. Although a platform had been built, to maintain that sort of tempo for 30 more overs was not an easy task! But Kohli had different plans.

The pair kept the scorecard ticking and registered a half century stand for the third-wicket in 48 deliveries. India reached 150 in the 19th over. Gambhir soon notched up his fifty off 47 deliveries while Kohli followed recording his off 44 deliveries. The pair put together the hundred stand in just 89 deliveries with Kohli dominating the partnership contributing 55.

Gambhir was dismissed in the 28th over. India needed 113 off the last 22 overs to win the match but needed to chase them down in 72 deliveries at a run rate of 9.42 to keep their hopes alive in the series. From thereon it was the Virat Kohli show! He smashed Nuwan Kulasekara for three successive boundaries in the 31st over and was in top gear thereafter.

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The 35th over of the Indian innings sealed the match for India when Kohli took apart Lasith Malinga – the yorker and death overs’ specialist and one of the best bowlers in the history of limited overs cricket. Kohli picked a couple of the first delivery to register his 9th ODI hundred. He then smashed the Sri Lankan speedster for a six before hammering him for four consecutive fours to end the over. Kohli had taken Malinga for 24 in the over! The equation changed dramatically and India just needed 18 runs in 5 overs to keep their hopes alive in the series.

India went on to record a sensational victory in the 37th over itself with Kohli remaining unbeaten on a magnificent 133 off just 86 deliveries. It was one of the best hundreds by an Indian batsman in ODI cricket.

It changed Kohli – the ODI batsman forever. He went on to scale unimaginable heights and has since owned the format. The current Indian captain is widely considered to be the greatest ODI batsman in history and also the best chaser in the format ever.

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first published:February 28, 2021, 08:03 IST