With an average of 96.55 in successful ODI run-chases and 120.90 in successful T20I chases, Virat Kohli is the king of chases in limited-overs cricket. His numbers are awe-inspiring. The Indian skipper has made a habit of winning games consistently when it comes to hunting down totals.
He is an absolute master and genius in such scenarios. He shone through for the Men in Blue in the first T20I against West Indies in Hyderabad. Kohli’s unbeaten 50-ball-94 helped India chase down 208 runs, their highest-ever in the format. Today, we will take a look at 4 things that make Virat Kohli the best chaser in white-ball cricket.
You don’t earn reputation in anything by doing it just on a few occasions. You have to keep repeating the same feat numerous times to establish yourself as master in anything. And Kohli has proven that there is no better master in the art of run-chasing than him. The right-hander has helped India win games in chases consistently. The unbeatable hunger and passion with which he plays drive him to such consistency. Because only those attributes can keep pushing you towards excellence over and again. We might get bored of seeing him winning the games for India in chases given how often he does it, but he won’t as he had once said that consistency is boring but he would keep pushing himself towards it.
Unlike batting first, in chases, you have a fixed target in mind. The moment you start drifting, the required run-rate starts climbing. A great presence of mind and discipline is required in chases. You have to blunt out the most potent bowlers of the opposition, know when the weakling will come on and target in alignment to the target. Kohli does all of it smoothly. He is one-step ahead of the opposition and very well knows how to execute his game plan. The star batter will hit boundaries when he wants, will keep sprinting between the 22 yards in middle-overs, play out the biggest threats with solid planning and he just functions like a ruthless calculator.
Unlike the older times, in modern-day cricket, you can’t survive without accelerating rapidly as a chaser since there are bigger totals to chase. And Kohli does that very well. He is not someone known for hitting too many aerial/lofted strokes but when the situation arrives, he can decimate even the best of bowlers in the business in his own imitable way. He doesn’t muscle the ball rather times it effortlessly. Once he gains momentum in his knock, the acceleration that his innings goes through is simply phenomenal.
Take the example of his 94* against Windies in the first T20I. The no.1 Test and ODI batsman in the world had made just 44 runs off his first 34 deliveries at a strike-rate of 129.41. But suddenly, he changed gears akin to some power-hitter and blasted the next 50 runs in just 16 deliveries at a remarkable strike-rate of 312.50. His ability to cut loose successfully makes him a top-notch chaser.
Ability to handle pressure
A player like Virat Kohli revels under pressure. He is a world-class batsman and champion players like him want to be in the thick of things when the going gets tough. Kohli loves the spotlight and wants to shine under it. The 31 years old is the man for big occasions. Chasing might be daunting for some, but Kohli craves such situations as it keeps him going.
In the first T20I against Windies, there was a war of words going on between Kohli and West Indies players, India were chasing 208 runs, he wasn’t middling the ball in the first half of his innings but all these didn’t deter him. In fact, it pumped him up to bring out his best game on display and helped India cross the line with ease. King Kohli is born to handle pressure.