Why Virat Kohli will likely be the most closely watched man in India v Pak game in New York?

NewsBharati    09-Jun-2024 14:50:52 PM
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-Devdeep Tyagi

There are batsmen who are known for their flair and class. You think of the likes of Brian Lara and Mark Waugh in this respect. Then there are those who are regarded for their will power. One could put Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis in this category.

Having said that, there are some batsmen who are revered for their instinct of domination. Tendulkar and Ponting justify this instance.

Virat Kohli IND vs PAK

But only a few, a rare lot maybe seem to possess each of these unique characteristics. And where one speaks of uniqueness, one definitely cannot turn a blind eye to a certain Virat Kohli.

As India play Pakistan in yet another high octane and hopefully thrilling T20 World Cup edition, the man who forms, yet again, the core highlight of the fixture, is Virat Kohli.

To a team to which Pant has returned, Samson has found a new place and one which Rohit leads with brilliance, it is Kohli who forms the big narrative, yet again.

Maybe, it’s not hard to understand why.

As on date, the man who’s been the most successful Indian batsman in the T20 World Cup format against arch rivals Pakistan happens to be Virat Kohli.

Lest it is forgotten, it’s Kohli who’s scored the most number of runs in T20 World Cup games versus Pakistan, 308 from five separate encounters, to be precise. As a matter of fact, 4 of his 5 World Cup knocks against Pakistan have yielded a half century.

Moreover, the Delhi-born batsman scores at a dominant striking rate of over 132 against India’s mighty subcontinental rivals. However, the more you dwell into Virat Kohli’s stats, the more glitter you end up discovering.

On the verge of a special landmark

So how is that? On the whole, Virat Kohli has amassed 488 T20I runs against Pakistan. Doing simple schoolboy math suggests that another twelve runs from his blade in the next few hours, and the man considered the greatest current batsman would have scaled yet another milestone in what has been a storied career.

What is interesting is that Kohli stands at the heels of 500 T20I runs versus Pakistan and yet, what’s rather surprising is that despite having featured versatile batsmen of varying pedigree in the past, such as Rohit, Dhoni, Jadeja and Karthik, no one else from India’s stable came close to touching the milestone number. But where it comes to his approach towards batting, Virat cares little for personal milestones.

Today, when we think of Virat Kohli in Cricket’s shortest format, more often than not, we think of his two blazing sixes back in the mega T20 World Cup clash in Australia versus Pakistan.

Many moons ago, amid a sprawling capacity crowd in Melbourne, as Pakistan continued to tighten their noose around India, only one man stood between Pakistan and what was seemed a near-certain victory.

Taking India home in 2022

Not the Hitman, Rohit Sharma. Not the 360-degree hitter Suryakumar Yadav. And let’s not forget there was no Rishabh Pant back at that time; it was Virat Kohli.

With Haris Rauf bowling as well and fast as he could, it took a stroke of mesmerising genius from Kohli to dismiss the Pakistani speedster thanks to his glorious sixes. The first was sent flickering over square leg for a huge six and the next stroke, widely described as among the greatest strokes to have ever been hit, would launch the white ball several rows down the ground for a gun barrel straight hit.

What happens on June 9?

What Pakistan would hope for would be to taste victory having recently emerged on the wrong side of the result against World Cup minnows: USA.

What India will hope for will be a masterclass from a batsman who’s a master among those who wield the cricket bat: Virat Kohli. In that sense of the argument, could America become King Kohli’s newest theatre of war? And who will eventually bite the biggest share of the Big Apple in New York? It’s all to play for in the next few hours.