Transition across formats is not easy for everyone. Most batsmen who are good in the longer formats fail to cope up with the demands of T20 cricket. But Virat Kohli is one of the few batsmen who are as good in T20s as they are in the other two formats.
He doesn't do anything differently while batting in T20s, he has gone on to say on multiple occasions that the shots which he plays in this format are just natural extension of the classic copybook shots he plays in the longer versions of the game. That's why he finds transitioning from longer formats to T20 cricket so smooth and that is quite evident from the fact that he is the highest run-getter in the history of T20 international matches.
Kohli has 2794 T20I runs to his name at a sensational average of 50.80. Not only that, he has the most number of fifties (24) in this format and has hit the most number of fours (258) as well. These numbers sum up his greatness as a batsman completely but still let's take a look at three of his best knocks in T20Is.
94* vs West Indies (Hyderabad | Dec 2019)
This is Kohli's highest score in T20Is and it came last year in December in the first T20I of the series against West Indies. The visitors put India under pressure by posting a massive total of 207/5 while batting first on a beautiful batting track. India's chase didn't get off to the best of starts as they lost Rohit Sharma cheaply, they were reduced to 30 for 1 inside the first four overs of their innings.
However, there was no looking back once Kohli came on to the crease. He took on the Caribbean bowlers from the word go and put India in the driving seat with a 100-run stand for the second wicket with KL Rahul. Wickets kept tumbling at the other end after that but Kohli carried on in his own way to chase the target down with eight balls to spare. He played a magnificent innings and remained unbeaten on 94 off just 50 deliveries, his innings consisting of six fours and an equal number of sixes.
82* vs Australia (Mohali | Mar 2016)
This was another gem of a knock from the Indian skipper which came in a winning cause once again. Australia posted a fighting total of 160/6 in their group encounter of the ICC World T20 2016 against India. They had every chance of defending it as they had a very good bowling lineup. In fact, a victory looked likely for Australia when they had sent both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma back to the dug out to reduce India to 37 for 2 inside six overs. However, Kohli had other ideas once again.
He looked to be in sublime touch even though the other batsmen struggled with their timing. India even got reduced to 49 for 3 when Suresh Raina was dismissed but Kohli didn't let the pressure rise on him. He played with maturity and steadied the innings with a 45-run stand for the fourth wicket along with Yuvraj Singh. But he changed gears once Yuvraj got dismissed and MS Dhoni walked out to bat. India required 67 runs to win off the last six overs but Kohli went absolutely berserk as chased the target down with five balls to spare. Dhoni contributed just 18 runs in that partnership while Kohli scored the remaining runs.
55* vs Pakistan (Kolkata | Mar 2016)
This one came in a World T20 encounter once again and that too against arch-rivals Pakistan. India were chasing a paltry total of 119 runs at the iconic Eden Gardens but a fiery opening spell from Mohammad Amir meant Kohli had to walk out to bat as early as the third over. Not only that, he even saw his team getting reduced to 23 for 3 by the fourth over.
Amir and Mohammad Sami were breathing fire but Kohli held his guard, weathered the storm and dug India out of trouble. Yuvraj Singh provided the stability from the other end once again as Kohli put on a 61-run stand for the fourth wicket with him to steady India's ship. Yuvraj got dismissed after that but Kohli, along with Dhoni, ensured that India were home with six wickets and 13 deliveries to spare. Kohli remained unbeaten on 55 off just 37 deliveries and was rightly adjudged the Player of the Match as well.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ NOAH SEELAM