Virat Kohli’s journey from a Delhi man to a Cricketing deity in Bengaluru was a pretty interesting one. Back in 2008, when Delhi Daredevils had the option of choosing one uncapped youngster among a bowling all-rounder (Pradeep Sangwan) and a promising batter, they went for the all-rounder option. Royal Challengers Bangalore picked that promising batter and Virat Kohli was one of the 22 men who were on the teamsheets who played the inaugural IPL game at the Chinnaswamy stadium.
Forward to 2021, he is the only player to continue with the same franchise without ever switching or missing a season, and the youngster who once wasn’t his hometown franchise’s first choice, is now a legend down south in Bengaluru. Virat Kohli announced on 19th September 2021 that he will quit IPL captaincy after the end of this season, which got a lot of his fans disappointed ahead of a wonderful landmark he was about to hit during the Kolkata Knight Riders game today.
No matter what he decides to do, it would be fair to acknowledge that he has been an ultimate batting force over the years. He prepares to become the fifth cricketer to play 200 IPL games. His glittering stats remain thirsty for silverware validation, but the numbers he mounted go beyond the medals he received.
Here are five knocks from Virat Kohli over the years, that left people jaw-dropped and bowlers hell-bent on their knees begging for mercy.
#5. Best Virat Kohli knocks – 100* (58) vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 2019
The most recent one on this list, Virat Kohli’s exhilarating 100 against the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2019 makes the cut sheerly for the number of exquisite shots that were involved on his way. Cricket lovers are always in for a treat when Kohli gets going, but some of his exploits at the Eden Gardens that day were as remarkable a batter can plan of materializing.
Another facet that makes this innings so special was the way he fought from a struggling phase to an emperor phase within the innings, pretty much symptomatic of his real-life demeanor. He hit his first six in the 11th over despite coming in as an opener and worked his way beautifully from gear three to gear six. His first 50 runs came in 40 deliveries and the next 50, in just 18 deliveries.
He played one of the shots of the innings off Harry Gurney, when hit a straight-batted six over the bowler. He got to his century off the penultimate ball of the innings with a boundary towards square leg and became only the second cricketer in IPL to hit five centuries. RCB won the game by bare margins and it was that late outburst from Kohli that proved to be decisive.
#4. Best Virat Kohli knocks – 99 (58) vs Delhi Daredevils, 2013
There’s nothing quite like hunting for something dear and losing our footing right when you’re an arm’s distance away from achieving it. Those were times when young Virat Kohli was desperate for a T20 hundred to back his credentials, but he would always fall short of the mark. However, when he broke loose against Delhi Daredevils in 2013, it seemed like he would get there.
Virat dominated the proceedings the way he usually did in the pre-2015 era. His innings would involve plenty of well-timed shots driven or wristily heaved in the gaps. Plenty of those were on display that day and Umesh Yadav was the unfortunate victim of his primal carnage. But before he could reach a well-deserved land-mark, he ran himself out in bizarre circumstances.
He was out for 99, agonizingly short of a century that would’ve lived on in memories for years. His 58-ball 99 included 10 fours, most of them taken right from the cricketing textbooks, and also 4 sixes to go with it. It was his best IPL score until 2016, and one of the very best knocks he has played to date in the RCB red.
#3 Best Virat Kohli knocks – 109 (55) vs Gujarat Lions, 2016
It seemed like another one of those days at the Chinnaswamy, when Virat Kohli would simply assist Chris Gayle, or AB de Villiers in this case, to help his side get a big score. He was doing that anchor role wonderfully as ever against the Gujarat Lions in the 44th game of the 2016 edition, with RCB donning the green jersey in front of the Chinnaswamy. A troubled start for Gayle didn’t seem to faze them, as Kohli got to a fifty and ABD was nearing a breathtaking hundred.
But out of the blue, Kohli turned cold and rampant, almost seemed like he was possessed. At the start of the 18th over, Kohli was on 52 off 41 balls, and he hit for a four and six. In the 19th over bowled by Shivil Kaushik, he went hell for leather against the young spinner, smashing him for 30 runs in that over, which included 4 sixes and a four.
A knock that was quintessentially Kohli up until a point turned into a massacre of unprecedented heights, introducing a new side of Virat Kohli. He got to his century with a six in the final over, and the Kohli-ABD duo became the first to register hundreds in the same IPL innings.
#2. Best Virat Kohli knocks – 44* (19) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, 2015
Amidst the big knocks he’s delivered over the years, sometimes the little cameos in crucial scenarios go unnoticed. Virat Kohli, known for his spectacular array of shots across the ground, was at his super-human best on a rain-marred day in Hyderabad, which was their penultimate game of the group stages. They needed 81 runs to win in 6 overs, with Chris Gayle delivering a power-packed start.
However, it was the imperious transition of Kohli from a batsman who oozes class with his silky striking, to the man swinging his willow with ferocity, that stole the headlines. He walked down to track to smash Karn Sharma over long-on, brutally thumped Praveen Kumar’s slower one over mid-wicket for a six and despite the odd slip up from his team, he kept them alive.
With 14 needed in the final over, the two exquisite shots he played off Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s picture-perfect yorkers, just using the pace and guiding them to the boundary, were a testament to his cricketing intelligence and ability to execute the toughest things in the book with ease. This knock saved RCB on the day, got them into the playoffs and it is to date remembered as one of the finest onslaughts from their captain fantastic.
#1 Best Virat Kohli knocks – 113 (50) vs Punjab Kings, 2016
Virat Kohli in 2016 was a supernatural force wearing a cricket kit. The performances he delivered that IPL might perhaps never be replicated, such was the class involved coupled with technical supremacy. Among a plethora of knocks that got him to 973 runs in 2016, his century against Punjab Kings (formerly Kings XI Punjab), was the epitome.
Kohli picked up a cut between his fingers during the previous game, and got 9 stitches on his left hand. No one was sure if the RCB skipper will be on the teamsheet that day in Bengaluru. The game was reduced to 15 overs and despite all suspicions, Kohli walked out to bat alongside Chris Gayle and the duo meant business. Never in at this level of cricket did a team go so brutal in a 15-over game, with almost every touch smearing towards the boundary.
Kohli walked down the track, caressed the ball with disdain, flicked and drove to perfection, and put on a display of batting that no one could ever forget. His 113-run blitzkrieg thundered his side to a whopping 211/3 in 15 overs. His knock included 12 fours and 8 huge sixes and it remains to be his fastest T20 hundred, also his best T20 score.