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Kohli is a T20I legend

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Virat_Kohli_India_Test_Captain_cricketTwenty20 cricket is associated with big hitting. There is no denying that most of the great batsmen in the history of Twenty20 cricket are those who are capable of hitting soaring sixes into the stand.

There are still some batsmen who are capable of succeeding in the shortest format of the game while playing orthodox cricketing shots and hitting the ball into the gaps, relying on placement & timing rather than power. However, such batsmen are few and far between.

Virat Kohli is one of those batsmen who relies on placement, rather than raw power. Not in the mold of a Chris Gayle, who is a muscular hitter, Kohli is possibly the greatest ODI batsman of all time and has a very good Test record. In all this, his caliber as a T20 batsman is often overlooked.

When you do a thorough analysis of his T20I career, we find that he has a claim to be included among the all-time great batsmen even in the shortest format of the game.

When he reached 12 during his innings of 65 against New Zealand in the second T20I at Rajkot, he overtook Tillakaratne Dilshan to move into second spot in the list of aggregate run scorers in T20Is. He reached there in 26 matches fewer than Dilshan which shows what a prolific run scorer he is in T20Is. He is now just 197 runs behind Brendon McCullum, who is in pole position with 2140 runs from 71 matches.

But calling Kohli just a prolific run scorer is doing him a huge disservice. He has scored the maximum number of runs by an Indian in T20Is, even though he has played just the 5th most number of matches by an Indian. He also has the highest batting strike rate of any Indian who has played more than 22 T20Is.

 

When India bats first, Kohli has scored 840 runs at an average of 36.52 and a strike rate of 139.53. When India are chasing a target, he has scored 1103 runs at an almost unbelievable average of 84.84 at a strike rate of 136 with 12 fifties. The total number of runs scored and the number of fifties are world records, while the batting average is the highest among anyone who has chased in more than 5 T20Is.

 

In successful chases, he has scored 841 runs at a Bradmanesque average of 120.14 and a strike rate of 133.49 with 9 fifties in 19 matches. The number of runs scored is again the most by anyone in chases while the average is the highest of anyone who has batted in more than 6 successful chases. He has scored more runs than anyone else in successful chases, 230 more than Martin Guptill, who is in second place with 611 runs. No other batsman has more than 6 scores over fifty in successful chases.

In matches where India has emerged victorious, he has scored 1322 runs in 34 matches at an average of 69.57 and a strike rate of 134.34. This is the most runs by anyone from a Test playing nation and the batting average is the most by anyone who has featured in at least 10 wins for his country.

There are some batsmen who are good in home conditions but struggle overseas. Kohli has scored 684 runs at an average of 62.18 and a strike rate of 142.2. His strike rate is the highest of anyone who has played more than 8 matches away from home.

 

Kohli has made the number 3 slot his own and scored 1604 runs at this position at an average of 59.4, and a strike rate of 135.35. The next best at number 3 is 1034 runs by Marlon Samuels, whose average is 26 runs lower.

 

Overall, Kohli has an average of 53.97 in T20Is, which is higher than anyone who has played in more than 5 matches. Kohli has struck 207 fours in T20Is which is the second highest after Dilshan who has 223 fours to his name.

In 2016, Kohli scored 641 runs in the calendar year in just 15 matches at an average of 106.83 and a strike rate of 140.26 with 7 fifties. The number of runs is a record in a calendar year while the average is also the most by anyone who has played more than 5 innings in a calendar year and the number of fifty plus scores is also a record for a calendar year.

Even though Kohli made his international debut for India in 2008 in ODIs, he played his first T20I on 12th June 2010. From that date till currently, he remains the highest scorer in T20Is scoring 1943 runs, which is 318 runs more than Mohammad Shahzad from Afghanistan who is in second spot. Among Test playing nations, he has 429 runs more than Martin Guptill.

Kohli also has a sense of the big occasion and has a great record at the WT20. The table below gives the record of the top 5 run getters at the WT20. Kohli did not play in the first 3 editions but still ranks near the top run getters.

 

Player

Matches

Runs

Average

S/R

Fifty plus scores

Mahela Jayawardene

31

1016

39.07

134.74

7

Chris Gayle

28

920

40

146.73

9

Tillakaratne Dilshan

35

897

30.93

124.06

6

Virat Kohli

16

777

86.33

133.04

9

AB De Villiers

30

717

29.87

143.4

5

 

In fact, Kohli’s batting average is the highest among anyone who has scored more than 265 runs at the WT20.

The above stats show that Kohli is a T20I legend. The only thing missing from his resume is a World Cup winners medal and a century in T20Is. He has a chance to lead India to victory in the WT20 in 2020 in Australia. At the rate at which his career is progressing only the foolhardy would bet against him achieving these feats.

 

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