Virat Kohli's knock against West Indies in Dharamsala on Friday saw him cross several milestones. While the innings itself was another masterpiece, it was also the ease with which he scored the runs that exemplified why he is one of the modern masters of the game. Kohli's innings of 127 came off 114 balls and was punctuated with 13 fours and three sixes. Having batted at number four in the previous game, Kohli was back at his customary number three position and came out to bat when the first wicket fell with the score on 70. (People Expect Runs From me Everytime: Kohli)
Kohli slowly settled in and soon was in his usual flow as the boundaries started coming. His 127 is now the highest individual score in Dharamsala. In doing so he went past Ian Bell's 113 against India on January 27, 2013. He also became the eighth player to score 20 ODI hundreds. The flamboyant Delhi batsman has joinedÂ some big names - Sachin Tendulkar (49), Ricky Ponting (30), Sanath Jayasuriya (28), Sourav Ganguly (22), Herschelle Gibbs (21), Chris Gayle (21) and Saeed Anwar (20). Kohli is the fastest to reach 20 ODI hundreds, taking 64 innings less than his idol Tendulkar, who had taken 197 knocks to get to the landmark.
Since his debut in 2008, Kohli has shown an appetite for scoring consistently and more often than not gets to three figures whenever he goes past 50. He has 51 scores over fifty of which 20 have been converted into tons, a very impressive conversion rate to say the least.
India's most consistent player in recent times may have suffered a bad patch but he showed no signs of it when he added 72 runs with Ajinkya Rahane (68) for the second wicket. A 138-run alliance followed with Suresh Raina (71) and that was instrumental in helping India post 330/6. On reaching his century, Kohli became the fifth batsman to hit three hundreds this year, the other four being Faf du Plessis, Aaron Finch and Kumar Sangakkara.
Kohli now has three hundreds against the West Indies and the 127 he slammed on Friday is his highest against them. The first ton came at Visakhapatnam (117) on December 2, 2011 and the second was a fine 102 at Port of Spain on July 5, 2013.
Kohli currently has 725 runs in 16 matches at an average of 51.78 in 2014, which places him as the second highest run-getter in ODIs this year, after Kumar Sangakkara who has 728 runs in 18 games.
Kohli was watchful to start with. His fifty came off 60 balls. After getting past 50, Kohli changed gears and started playing the big shots to reach his ton off 101 balls. Kohli continued his onslaught on the West Indies bowlers in the death overs and was finally run out off the last ball. It was a selfless innings and possibly a sign of things to come in the World Cup.
Kohli's average of 52.79 in India is testimony to his consistent run in the sub-continent. He has scored 2270 runs in 50 innings while overseas the tally is 3609 runs in 83 innings at 50.83. The only other batsman with a fifty-plus average both at home and away is Michael Bevan with 2849 runs (ave.55.86) in 80 innings in Australia and 4063 (ave.52.08) in 116 innings away from home.
(With inputs from Rajesh Kumar)