Virat Kohli is an excellent batsman irrespective of formats but his domination in the ODIs has been unreal. He has broken several records in the formats and has 11867 runs to his name at present at a sensational average of 59.30. That's the sixth highest run-tally among all batsmen in the history of the format and he has played at least 127 matches lesser than what the top five played during their career span.
Moreover, it is pretty amazing that he already has 43 hundreds to his name in just 248 matches. Sachin Tendulkar has the most number of ODI hundreds (49) but that came in a career span of 452 matches. So Kohli still has 203 matches to not only equal Tendulkar's record in lesser number of matches than him but also to become the first batsman to reach the landmark of 50 centuries. These facts and figures tell us why Kohli is already an ODI G.O.A.T. That said, let's take a look at three of his best batting performances in the format.
183 vs Pakistan (Dhaka | May 2012)
This was a majestic batting performance by Kohli. It's fitting that this is his highest ODI score till date as well. It came during India's Asia Cup encounter in 2012 against Pakistan at Dhaka. Pakistan had posted a huge total of 329/6 while batting first. Twin centuries from Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed, and a late onslaught from Younis Khan had already crushed the spirit of the Indian players. Things worsened further when India lost the wicket of Gautam Gambhir in the very first over but once Kohli walked out to bat, there was no respite for the Pakistani bowlers.
Kohli, along with Tendulkar, launched a counterattack on the Pakistani bowlers that lasted for a duration of 19.1 overs fetching 133 runs. Tendulkar was the one who got dismissed after a stroke-filled 48-ball knock of 52. Kohli didn't stop even after the dismissal of the master and forged yet another 170-run stand with Rohit Sharma (62). He smashed the Pakistani bowlers all around the park during his 148-ball knock of 183 which consisted of 22 fours and a six. It was a daunting target but Kohli made a complete mockery of it as he helped India to chase it down with 13 deliveries and six wickets to spare.
160* vs South Africa (Cape Town | February 2018)
This may not have been one of the most explosive innings from Kohli but it was surely a crucial one in the context of the game. He had walked out to bat as early as the first over again after Rohit Sharma's dismissal. But a 140-run stand for the second wicket with Shikhar Dhawan steadied India's ship. Kohli, though, had played the second fiddle in that partnership as Dhawan scored 76 of those runs. However, once Dhawan got dismissed, wickets kept tumbling at the other end regularly. But Kohli held his guard from one end and looked to play out India's full quota of overs.
It was difficult at first but things got easier for him as the innings progressed towards the end. India were 236/6 at the 43-over mark and even a total of 275 looked great for them at that point. But Kohli's brilliance ensured that India reached a total of 303/6. The talented batsman scored 52.8 percent of India's runs and remained unbeaten on a score of 160 off 159 deliveries. The Indian bowlers came up with a superb bowling performance later on to bowl South Africa out for a paltry total of 179.
133* vs Sri Lanka (Hobart | Feb 2012)
This was another gem of a knock from Kohli in another high-scoring encounter. Sri Lanka rode on Tilakeratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara's centuries to put on a total of 320/4 on the board in this Commonwealth Bank Series encounter at Hobart. Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag got India off to a great start in response but they had lost both of them by the 10th over with 86 runs on the board. It was then time for Kohli to take over once again.
What happened after that was something that none of us have forgotten even now. He launched a complete assault on the Sri Lankan bowlers as he smashed them all around the ground. The Lankan bowlers looked completely baffled as all of their deliveries were being sent to the boundary. He became unbelievably aggressive after the fall of Gambhir's wicket in the 28th over with India's score on 201 for 3. The remaining 120 runs were scored in the span of the next 10 overs as India chased down the target in just 36.4 overs. Kohli remained unbeaten on a score off 133 scored in just 86 deliveries. His innings consisted of 16 fours and two sixes, and thus was absolutely delightful to watch.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Manjunath Kiran