Virat Kohli’s masterclass made India win over South Africa and take the lead 1-0 in the T20I series.
He did not finish 72 out, and in the course of his innings, compatriot Rohit Sharma overtook as the leading run-scorer in T20Is. His 22 over 50 scores in the format are also a record.
Rohit himself made only 12 before being held in the fourth round by Andile Phehlukwayo, but Kohli received strong support from Shikhar Dhawan, who made 40 when the pair added 61. Both Dhawan and Rishabh Pant fell within three spins and 10 runs to give South Africa a glimpse, but the game always depended on Kohli, and he once again showed his chase and took his team home with an over and seven wickets, to save.
He again took his average in T20Is over 50, making him the only player to have an average of 50 in all three international formats. His average hunting is stratospheric 81.
While Kohli’s magic is barely explained, the proteas may have felt that they could have stretched out a little while hitting them. After Quinto de Kock lost Reeza Hendricks because of individual pieces, he continued in cooperation with Temba Bavuma his first game as captain and built a strong position. He sat down after eleven overs on 87/1. However, the last nine overs brought only 62 runs, as India restrained his opponents well.
Deepak Chahar won the selection, with the scalps of Bavuma and Hendricks making his 2/22, but India was a combined effort – only Navdeep Saini made eight runs and overtook.
But when bowling was about the collective, hitting it was about a person and the person that is so often. India leads the game 1-0 in the series, and if South Africa wants to match the series, it has to find a way beyond perhaps the biggest batsman with limited stakes on all.