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Kohli makes the difference

Virat Kohli was accorded the loudest cheer by a predominantly Indian crowd in Adelaide

before their crucial match against archrivals Pakistan yesterday. As expected, the 26-

year-old batsman, who arrived at the centre following the departure of Rohit Sharma in

the eighth over, dominated proceedings with relentless stroke-making and orchestrated

India’s sixth win in a trot against Pakistan in the World Cup.

Kohli reached his 22nd ODI century with a punch off Shahid Afridi towards long-on,

allowing the packed gathering at the Adelaide Oval to stand on their feet and applaud the

poster boy of Indian cricket. During his 126-ball knock, the right-handed batsman made

107 with the help of eight boundaries. Dropped by Yasir Shah off Afridi on seven and

again by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal on 76, Kohli otherwise played within himself and

gave few chances in his inning.

Undoubtedly the star player for India, Kohli did not have a great start to 2015. The Delhi

lad, however, put behind his recent disappointments and hit the ground running in the

very first match. He played aggressively, barely showed his emotions but retained his

ever-growing maturity. He once again proved himself as a big-match player, a match-
winner and a complete batsman who can adapt to different kinds of situations.

With the century, Kohli saw his name written beside Saeed Anwar, the former Pakistan

opener. Anwar was the only player to have scored a century in an India-Pakistan World

Cup match. His knock of 101 came in Centurion in 2003. However, his ton went in vain

as Pakistan lost that match by six wickets. Sachin Tendulkar’s 75-ball 98 runs in the same

match was India’s previous best individual score against Pakistan in a World Cup game.

Kohli’s 183-run knock in the 2012 Asia Cup is the best effort by an Indian batsman

against their archrivals in ODIs.

With a technique and temperament to succeed in every condition and format, Kohli

cutting loose is one of the most beautiful sights of the

modern game.

Yesterday it was the Pakistan bowlers’ turn to watch helplessly. The Pakistan bowlers

had very little to offer against a rampant Kohli.

The grand and glittering strokes were sprayed all over the ground in a fascinating cocktail

of graceful dominance and silken brutality. Virat Kohli rose to the occasion and with

some perfection