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ICC World Cup 2023 Final: Revisiting Virat Kohli’s Top 5 ODI Knocks vs Australia

#INDvsAUS | Ahead of #CWC23 final, let's revisit #ViratKohli's top five ODI knocks against Australia.

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Virat Kohli and Australia have often combined to frame a congenial proposition for cricket fans of both nations. The latter have been at the receiving end of eight of the former’s 50 ODI centuries.

A ninth century will see him equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record of the most ODI tons by an Indian against the Aussies. But more importantly, should the ninth century arrive this Sunday (19 November), it could result in India’s third ODI World Cup trophy.

Prior to the 2023 ICC World Cup final, which will be contested between India and Australia, let us take a trip down memory lane and revisit Virat Kohli’s top five knocks against the five-time champions:

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1. 115* (66) in Nagpur, 2013

Kohli’s best-ever ODI knock against the Aussies came on home turf, over a decade ago. On a batting-friendly Nagpur wicket, Australia’s then-skipper George Bailey and Shane Watson went berserk, helping their team post a total of 350/6.

In the chase, a 178-run opening stand between Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan did provide India with a solid foundation, but they still needed over 170 runs, with barely 20 overs to spare. India needed a berserker of their own, and they got one in a 24-year-old Virat Kohli, who scored what was then his 17th century in ODI cricket.

Albeit, the three-figure total was not the most impressive aspect of the knock. What stood out was his strike rate – he took only 61 deliveries to score his century, in a knock which comprised as many as 18 boundaries, alongside a maximum.

To add to that, he remained unbeaten till the end, accumulating 115 runs in 66 deliveries – ensuring he does not desert the battlefield before getting his team over the line.

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2. 118 (121) in Visakhapatnam, 2010

Kohli made his ODI debut on 18 August 2008, but in the first couple of years of his ODI career, he could record only two centuries in 30 appearances. The barren spell was followed by a remarkable ton against Australia on 20 October 2010 – his third in this format – and since then, the career graph has seen spikes aplenty.

Chasing a target of 290 runs in Visakhapatnam, India found themselves in a precarious position when both openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay – lost their wickets with only 35 runs on the board.

Kohli, despite then being only a 21-year-old prodigy, had enough composure to hold the fort for his side and anchor the team to victory, scoring 118 runs in 121 deliveries in an innings which lasted over three hours.

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3. 104 (112) in Adelaide, 2019

This list justifies Kohli’s title of a ‘chase specialist,’ for this is the third mention of a century which came whilst chasing a big total against Australia. This match took place recently – on 15 January 2019 – but not on home turf.

India arrived in Adelaide on the back of a defeat, and then conceded 298 runs while bowling first. In reply, Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan got starts, but they could only accumulate 75 runs between them.

Kohli, for the umpteenth time, needed to anchor the team to safety. And for the umpteenth time, he did not let his team and nation down, scoring 104 runs in 112 deliveries.
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4. 100* (52) in Jaipur, 2013

In this particular match – played in Jaipur on 16 October 2013 – Kohli was not India’s highest scorer. For his 123-ball 141, Rohit Sharma was adjudged to be the player of the match, but whilst chasing a target of 360, Sharma needed fireworks from Kohli.

When Kohli came out to bat, India were 184 away from the target with less than 24 overs to spare. What followed was a 52-ball century, comprising eight fours and seven sixes.

A couple of records from this match are yet to be broken – it remains Kohli’s fastest century in ODI cricket, and India’s highest chase in this format.

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5. 116 (120) in Nagpur, 2019

We come full circle and arrive at Nagpur once again, for the 5 March 2019 match. Except that unlike the one in 2013, this Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium pitch hardly had anything for the batters, and nearly everything for the bowlers.

Whilst wickets kept on tumbling at one end, with Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa wreaking havoc, it seemed Kohli was batting on a completely different track. India managed to score 250 runs in this match, and almost half of it – 116 in 120 deliveries – were scored single-handedly by Kohli.

Eventually, commendable performances with the ball from Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Vijay Shankar helped India secure an eight-run triumph. Without Kohli’s contribution, however, India could easily have been staring at an embarrassing defeat.

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