Virat Kohli’s emphatic unbeaten 82 off 53 balls during India’s nervy four-wicket win over Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12 stage in Melbourne shook up the cricketing world on Sunday.
Kohli evoked a sense of his very best - the impeccable finisher of run-chases - against a fiery Pakistan seam attack to help India cross the line off the last ball in arguably the best India v Pakistan T20I encounter of late.
The former India captain rated his innings as his best in T20Is “because of the magnitude of the game and the situation”.
Sportstar takes a look at Kohli’s best T20I knocks.
82* (53) vs Pakistan, T20 World Cup 2022 - Melbourne
At the fall of the fourth Indian wicket for 31, Kohli (5* off 9) had to counter multiple narratives, including previous criticisms of his batting in the format, to take his team home in a 160-run chase at the colossal MCG. Pakistan’s three-pronged pace attack of Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi gave nothing away in the first half, and Kohli aggregated runs through ones and twos and took the game deep.
With Hardik Pandya at the other end, Kohli switched gears after reaching 50 off 43 deliveries. India required 48 off the last three overs, and Kohli struck Shaheen for three boundaries on either side of the strip to keep the chase alive. While a towering Rauf constricted India, leaving it with a 28-run deficit in eight balls, Kohli, batting like a man possessed, punched a back-of-a-length delivery down the ground for six and followed it up with an extraordinary flick over fine leg for another maximum. India required 16 off the final over, and with a mishmash of a no-ball, free hits, wides and Kohli’s smarts under pressure, the Men in Blue etched a come-from-behind win for the ages.
82* (51) vs Australia, T20 World Cup 2016 - Mohali
India and Australia’s scratchy run in the 2016 Super 10 stage eventually led them to a virtual knockout clash to reach the semifinals. On a tricky Mohali pitch, Australia set up a 161-run target.
Kohli, known for his penchant to score against the Aussies, counter-attacked and lifted the team from 49 for three. With India requiring 38 off the last three, Kohli thumped James Faulkner and Nathan Coulter-Nile to all parts of the park. He struck seven boundaries to send the crowd into raptures and knock Australia out of the tournament.
94* (50) vs West Indies, 2019 - Hyderabad
On an incredible December evening in Hyderabad, Kohli’s gobsmacking 50-ball 94* left the West Indies in a daze as India chased down a mammoth 208-run total - its second-highest in T20Is.
Walking into bat after Rohit Sharma’s early departure, Kohli was pressed to the backfoot by the slower bowlers and found himself on 20 off 20 deliveries. What followed was a tremendous riposte. Kohli, charged up after a brief tussle with Windies seamer Kesrick Williams, took over the mantle of the chase from opener KL Rahul. Kohli whipped up 74 runs from his next 30 deliveries with six fours and as many sixes as India chased down the target with eight balls to spare.
70* (29) vs West Indies, Mumbai, 2019
Four days after his 94-run knock in Hyderabad, Kohli smashed the West Indies bowlers yet again in the three-match series decider at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. While openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul fired up India’s innings with a 135-run partnership, Kohli stole the show after walking in the 12th over. The then Indian captain smashed his fastest half-century in the format, off 21 balls, and struck seven sixes to finish unbeaten on 70 from just 29 deliveries.
India racked up a whopping 240/3 on the back of Kohli’s blitz and proceeded to register a 67-run win to clinch the series 2-1.
72* (44) vs South Africa, T20 World Cup 2014, Mirpur
In a high-pressure game, the then 25-year-old Kohli anchored a chase with effortless ease. During the 2014 T20 World Cup semifinal against South Africa, Kohli came to the crease with India needing 93 from 10 overs.
Kohli’s superb running between the wickets, with his efficiency to find the fence at the right time, helped India hurtle towards the finish line. Kohli single-handedly propelled India into the final after belting Dale Steyn for a boundary through mid-wicket and finished the match unbeaten on 72 off 44 deliveries.
49 (51) vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2016, Mirpur
There were neither audacious shots nor outright domination in this innings. Instead, Kohli’s immaculate match-awareness and adept technique helped him thwart an Indian batting collapse against arch-rival Pakistan in the 2016 Asia Cup in Mirpur.
After India skittled Pakistan for 83 on a dicey Mirpur track, it was at the receiving end of a fiery burst from left-arm seamer Mohammed Amir in the PowerPlay. While Amir ripped apart the Indian top-order, Kohli stood tall with his measured defence and occasional punches through the gaps for boundaries.
An innings remembered for grit than glitz, Kohli rebuilt the chase from 8/3 and put India within the final touches before being trapped lbw on 49 by Mohammad Sami. India eventually won the tense affair by five wickets and proceeded to win the first Asia Cup played in the T20 format.