Despite India losing the second one-dayer versus New Zealand by 15 runs by Duckworth-Lewis method, Virat Kohli's knock of 78 from 65 balls at Hamilton on Wednesday added a lot of weight to his credentials in run-chases. Kohli has scored 18 ODI tons overall, 12 of which have come in run-chases. Only Sachin Tendulkar (18) has more. The fact that India have won 11 out of the 12 times he has done this, speaks volumes of Kohli's ability and competence in crunch situations.
The way Kohli began and went about his innings, it seemed like he would get his 13th ton in a chase and 12th in a winning cause until he perished in the 30th over (India 164/4) while trying to up the ante. Kohli walked to bat in a precarious situation, with opener Shikhar Dhawan dismissed and India struggling to cope with the tall asking rate. In a 42-overs-a-side contest, India were set a 297-run winning target. (Match highlights)
However, in the rich vein of form that he is in, Kohli began in trademark, confident style with a strong flick through mid-wicket for a four off Tim Southee. He put the pressure back on the Kiwis as he took on the bowling and scored fluently. His knock of 78 included seven fours and two sixes and kept the hosts on their toes throughout, despite the fact that India needed to score at more than 10 runs an over. (Match in pics)
Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane added a 90-run stand, the highest for the third wicket at the Seddon Park, Hamilton. Just when this pair was looking like it could snatch the game away from New Zealand's grip, Rahane's departure put the game back in the balance. The asking rate kept increasing but with Dhoni for company, it wasn't over till the final ball. Dhoni and Kohli added 37 runs for the fourth wicket but Tim Southee struck to send Kohli back to the pavilion. The chip-pull was a stroke of desperation and cruelly forked the life out of a glorious innings. (Click here for more stats)
Although Kohli couldn't take his team to a win, his ability to perform well under crunch situations in hostile conditions and take on the onus of playing the role of the sheet anchor speaks volumes of his overall ability.