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Rohit & Virat: Brothers in destruction

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Virat_Kohli_India_CricketThere is no doubt that Virat Kohli is the best limited overs batsman at present. However, the rise of his team-mate Rohit Sharma as one of the best limited overs batsmen over the past couple of years hasn’t gone unnoticed. But nothing has been more astonishing than witnessing them bat together and consistently make match-winning partnerships.

In the deciding match of the three ODI series between India and New Zealand, Kohli and Rohit went about their business like two brothers on a mission. It seemed like they both knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, how to back the other when they struggled to get going and, most importantly, gave each other the freedom to express themselves in their own ways. While New Zealand took the chase of 338 runs quite close, the duo had already sealed the match in India’s favour with their incredible stand of 230 runs for the third wicket.

“Generally, when we are batting together, we don’t have to say much because we both understand where the game is going, have a good understanding of the situation and are thinking about what is best for the team. If we play our games, we know the team will benefit. We both like to score big runs and bat long,” said Kohli after the game.

 

The fact that it was their fourth double century stand in ODI cricket underlines how prolific they are in each other’s company. With that partnership, they have also become the duo with the most double century stands in ODI cricket, surpassing the likes of Sachin Tendulkar-Sourav Ganguly, Kohli-Gautam Gambhir and Upul Tharanga-Mahela Jaywardene.

 

The most amazing part of the partnership was that they didn’t run themselves out. The duo has a dismal record of running themselves out six times in ODIs so far. There were a few nervy moments when it seemed like another run-out would be inevitable but everything worked out in the end.

With their partnership at Green Park, Kanpur, they have the best average for any Indian batting pair that has scored over 3000 runs in ODIs. Their average of 59.87 has bettered the likes of MS Dhoni-Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni-Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Dravid-Sourav Ganguly, who have averages of 58.50, 52.59 and 50.37 respectively.

 

Runs haven’t quite come easily for every batsman this year. But Kohli and Rohit are the only two players to have crossed the thousand run mark in ODIs. Kohli has 1387 runs to his name from 26 matches at an average of 77.06, including six hundreds. Rohit, on the other hand, has played eight matches fewer than his skipper and scored 1076 runs at 67.25, including five hundreds. The fact that he has scored more than the likes of Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and Joe Root despite playing the same number of matches this year underlines Rohit’s massive improvement as a batsman.

 

Kohli and Rohit have now scored 3413 ODI runs together in 61 matches at an average of 59.87. Their century tally of 12 is third only to the pair of Ganguly-Tendulkar (26) and Virender Sehwag-Tendulkar (13) among Indian batsmen.

Moreover, their tally of 3413 runs together is the second most runs for a pair among players who are active at present. Only Hashim Amla-Quinton de Kock have more runs to their names, with 3754 runs in 78 matches at an average of 49.39.

Although the career average of Kohli and Rohit is nearing 60, the duo has averaged 86.93 in the last two years. This includes 5 of their 12 century partnerships and four 50+ stands as well. The jump in the numbers suggests that they are getting better with time and greater things lie on the road ahead.

At this rate, it won’t take long for them to surpass the most successful ODI pairing of all time—Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar (8227 runs in 176 matches at an average of 47.55 including 26 hundreds and 29 fifties).

The way they score their runs absolutely risk-free is quite beautiful. Only a few batsmen in modern cricket have equal prowess in manipulating the field and playing aggressive shots.

Kohli and Rohit are racking up heaps and heaps of runs in every match and it seems quite impossible to get them out, unless they commit mistakes themselves. The brothers in destruction certainly look headed towards something great—a legacy, a legend!

 

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Prasenjit, a techie by profession and Sports writer by passion, hails from the 'City of Joy'-Kolkat...

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