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Out of Form? Virat Kohli Fans Slam Critics as Indian Batter Continues to Dominate in ODIs

Virat Kohli slammed his 63rd ODI fifty in unsuccessful run chase during first ODI against South Africa. (File image)

Virat Kohli slammed his 63rd ODI fifty in unsuccessful run chase during first ODI against South Africa. (File image)

Virat Kohli brought up his 63rd ODI fifty against South Africa in the first ODI at the Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday.

Virat Kohli, India’s former captain, played a handy knock of 51 during the first ODI match against South Africa where the visitors lost by 31 runs on Wednesday. Chasing 297, opener Shikhar Dhawan (79) and Kohli stitched a healthy partnership taking India from 46/1 to 138/1 before Dhawan departed. Later Kohli also mistimed Tabraiz Shamsi and was caught. The match turned when Rishabh Pant was stumped off Phehlukwayo and Ngidi had Venkatesh Iyer caught in the deep. With Ravichandran Ashwin, who was playing his first ODI since 2017, also losing his stumps to Phehlukwayo, India’s hopes of pulling off a miracle evaporated quickly. India were reduced to 199/7, losing 7 wickets for 76. Shardul Thakur did get a half-century towards the end, but it was in vain.

While the middle-order was panned for failing to shoulder the responsibility of the lengthy chase, it was Kohli missing out on the 71st century and failing to stay longer on the 22 yards that became a topic of discussion on social media.

However, fans pulled up stats and numbers to remind the critics that Kohli, despite facing a century drought and not being at his “best,” had plenty of runs in his kitty in the previous outings, and the “out of form” argument was unjust to him.

Has Kohli set the bar too high, even for himself? Wondered many.

Earlier skipper Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen struck contrasting hundreds en route to their 204-run stand to take South Africa to 296 for four in the first ODI against India here on Wednesday. After a sluggish start, van der Dussen (129 not out off 96) and Bavuma (110 off 143) shared the second-highest partnership ever against India in ODIs to ensure a competitive total for the home team.

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first published:January 20, 2022, 09:37 IST