Less than three weeks after his heroic effort against Sri Lanka at Hobart, Virat Kohli yesterday produced yet another special knock to keep India alive in the Asia Cup. Kohli smashed a career-best 183 as India achieved the stiff 330-run target with 13 balls to spare in the first India-Pakistan encounter since last year's World Cup semi-final. In a do-or-die tie for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men, it was once again Kohli who stood tall with his third century in four matches -- an explosive knock studded with 22 fours and a six.
Kohli said that he would rate this innings alongside his Hobart gem when he scored 133 as India chased down Sri Lanka's target of 321 in just 36.4 overs. "I would rate this knock and Hobart equally. To be able to chase 330 against this quality of a bowling attack is satisfying," Kohli told reporters after the victory.
Kohli scored 36 off 29 balls against star off-spinner Saeed Ajmal -- the No 1 ranked bowler in both Test and ODI rankings. So, what did he do to neutralise the Ajmal effect? "I saw a lot of videos before the match. He has plenty of variations. I wanted to be ready for the doosra, the straighter one, and all those variations. He is a world-class bowler. I have played against him before. Rohit (Sharma) and I had discussed the importance of facing him before the match. I am glad that our plans worked out," he said.
When asked if he was targetting Sachin Tendulkar's record of hundred international tons, aÂ bemused Kohli said: "That would be mission impossible. I am only on 11 right now (12 tons including Tests). I am pretty sure that I will never be able to break his record."
Loving the No 3 slot
"I thought about reaching the double hundred once during the knock. But those thoughts vanished quickly. I knew I had to stay out there for the team to win. I have started valuing my wicket a lot more. There was a time when I used to throw it away in the 30s and 40s. I am absolutely loving the responsibility of batting at No 3," added the 23-year-old.
Hold your breath, India fans!
Despite India's victory yesterday, they are not assured of a berth in Thursday's Asia Cup final. Hosts Bangladesh can make a backdoor entry with a win over Sri Lanka tomorrow.