Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Top 5 innings by Virat Kohli in T20 World Cups

A look back on the career of the modern-day great who retired from the shortest format after winning the 2024 tournament

Published: Jul 1, 2024 11:45:51 AM IST
Updated: Jul 1, 2024 04:28:44 PM IST

Virat Kohli of India celebrates after the final run is scored during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Darrian Traynor - ICC/ICC via Getty Images Virat Kohli of India celebrates after the final run is scored during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Darrian Traynor - ICC/ICC via Getty Images
 
After winning the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, it took India 17 years to become world champions in the format. The Rohit Sharma-led side pipped South Africa in the finals in Barbados on Saturday in a nail-biting encounter. Once again, Virat Kohli played a vital role in ensuring India lifted an ICC trophy for the first time since 2013.
 

India lost three quick wickets in the powerplay but Kohli held one end and made 76 off 59 balls to take India to a competitive total of 176. He announced his retirement from the format after the match, marking the end of an era. With over 4,000 runs to his name, Kohli retired as one of the top batters in the T20I cricket.
 
Yet, despite being named the Player of the Final, this wasn’t one of Kohli’s best in T20 World Cups. In this story, we will take you through his top five knocks in the tournament’s history:
 

1.    82* (52) vs Pakistan in 2022

“Kohli goes down the ground, Kohli goes out of the ground.” How many times have you heard this line, spoken by Harsha Bhogle on commentary, as Kohli tonked Pakistani bowler Haris Rauf at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)?  It is from Kohli’s best knock in T20 World Cup history, and came against Pakistan in Melbourne in 2022. While the stage was set for the high-octane encounter, things were going against India. Chasing a total of 160 on a tough track, India lost quick wickets and was reduced to 31-4. Kohli, alongside Hardik Pandya, led the recovery, taking the game deep. In the end, India needed 48 off 18—an impossible task against the then-best bowling attack in the world—but Kohli played some unbelievable shots to take India to a thrilling win. He made an unbeaten 82 off 52 balls, which he himself termed as his best knock in T20 cricket, given the occasion and situation.

Virat Kohli of India celebrates after the final run is scored during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Darrian Traynor - ICC/ICC via Getty Images Virat Kohli of India celebrates victory during the ICC WT20 India Group 2 match between India and Australia at I.S. Bindra Stadium on March 27, 2016 in Mohali, India. Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

2.    82* (51)  vs Australia in 2016

India was clashing against Australia at Mohali in the 2016 edition of the event. It was a must-win game for both teams to earn a place in the semi-finals. And, yet again, India, chasing 160, lost three wickets on 49. Australia had a brilliant bowling line-up and were bowling tight lines. With pressure mounting, no other batter seemed to even settle down in the crease. That’s when Kohli took it upon himself. He wasn’t just looking to play big shots but found the gaps and ran a lot of singles and doubles until the game reached the final stages. He then took on the attack and tore apart Aussie bowlers. He returned unbeaten with 82 runs in 51 balls, helping India cross the line in the final over.

Virat Kohli of India celebrates after the final run is scored during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Darrian Traynor - ICC/ICC via Getty Images Virat Kohli of India screams after he hit the winning runs as MS Dhoni looks on as India win the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 2nd Semi-Final match between India and South Africa at Sher-e-Bangla Mirpur Stadium on April 4, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Image: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

3.    72* (44) vs South Africa in 2014

A dominating display in the group stages led India to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup I 2014, being held in Bangladesh. They were now up against a strong South African side that won the toss and opted to bat first. Thanks to some good batting in the middle order, South Africa posted an above-par total of 172 runs. India started well but soon the required run rate started rising. However, with Kohli in the middle, things always seemed in control. He consistently rotated the strike and hit an occasional boundary whenever it was for the taking. South Africa tried all their options but Kohli stood like a wall. India chased down the total in the final over with Kohli winning the Player of the Match award for his 72* off 44 balls.

Also read: T20 World Cup 2024: Ten players to watch out for


Virat Kohli of India celebrates after the final run is scored during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Darrian Traynor - ICC/ICC via Getty Images Indian batsman Virat Kohli celebrates after India won the match against Pakistan during the ICC T20 World Cup, Super Eight group 2 cricket match between India and Pakistan at R. Premadasa Stadium on September 30, 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Image: Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

4.    78* (61) vs Pakistan in 2012

Even if India and Pakistan clash in a warm-up match, the pressure remains immense given the history between the two countries. But Kohli always found a way to emerge on top against Pakistan, especially in T20 World Cups.
 
It all started in 2012 when India and Pakistan were locking horns at Colombo. Pakistan batted first and was restricted to a small total of 128. The pitch was slow and India lost opener Gautam Gambhir in the first over. Kohli, who was playing his first T20 World Cup back then, came at number three and showed great composure. He began steadily and once he was set, played some tremendous shots to take the game away from Pakistan. With a cracking knock of 78 runs in 61 balls, he steered India to a comfortable win in just 17 overs. In this game, he picked up a wicket as well.

Virat Kohli of India celebrates after the final run is scored during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Darrian Traynor - ICC/ICC via Getty Images Virat Kohli of India celebrates scoring a half century during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Bangladesh at Adelaide Oval on November 02, 2022 in Adelaide, Australia. Image: Mark Brake-ICC/ICC via Getty Images

5.    64* (44) vs Bangladesh in 2022

Most of Kohli’s best knocks in T20 World Cups have come while chasing, but he played some match-winning innings while batting first as well. One such knock came against Bangladesh in 2022, in a match that India almost lost at Australia’s Adelaide Oval.
 
India batted first and KL Rahul gave them a brilliant start at the top but due to a few quick wickets, the responsibility once again fell on Kohli’s shoulders. Like in most of his top innings, Kohli stayed at the crease till the very end. He made a good-looking 64 off 44 balls to lead India to a total of 184 runs. Bangladesh responded strongly but fell short of 5 runs as the match was decided by the Duckworth Lewis Stern (DLS) method due to the rain.