x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Virat Kohli blazes a hundred as India pull off remarkable run chase

MS Dhoni's men claim the bonus point they needed to stay in contention for the final by chasing down 321 in 36.4 overs to beat Sri Lanka. Video of England-Pakistan review

India's Virat Kohli scored 133 runs in the Tri-series ODI against Sri Lanka.
India's Virat Kohli scored 133 runs in the Tri-series ODI against Sri Lanka.

Virat Kohli hailed his whirlwind 133 against Sri Lanka yesterday as his finest performance in limited overs cricket.

His 86-ball demolition job led India to a stunning bonus point victory and kept alive their hopes of reaching the final of the Tri-series in Australia.

“That was the best one-day innings I’ve played in my career because we needed to pull off a win with a bonus point and we were able to do that so I am really happy with the performance,” Kohli said.

The 23 year old produced his highest one-day international score to propel the World Cup champions to 321 for three off just 36.4 overs and secure the extra point with 20 balls to spare.

Kohli was the man-of-the-match with 16 fours and two sixes in a game featuring three century-makers and a combined total of 641 runs off 86.4 overs.

“With the partnership with [Gautam] Gambhir we knew the run rate was coming down and we knew it would become a Twenty20 game for us,” Kohli said.

“I have been believing in myself every day and waking up and thinking I belong here and that I can score runs at international level and that’s the biggest thing that has kept motivating me on this tour.”

The bonus point enabled India to draw level with Sri Lanka on 15 points. The World Cup runners-up now need to beat finalists Australia in Friday’s last round-robin game in Melbourne to reach the best-of-three match finals.

India came into the match on the back of three defeats and a tie and their problems were magnified when Sri Lanka set a daunting target of eight runs an over for them to claim the bonus point.

Tillakaratne Dilshan equalled his best one-day score of 160, set against India in 2009, and Kumar Sangakkara smashed a ton to push Sri Lanka’s total to 320 for four off 50 overs. Dilshan took just 165 balls to reach his total.

He shared a 200-run second wicket stand with Sangakkara, whose 105 came off 87 balls, to leave India with it all to do.

The Indian openers Virender Sehwag (30 off 16 balls) and Sachin Tendulkar (39 off 30 balls) gave them a flying start and Gambhir hit 63 off 64 balls.

The third-wicket stand of 115 runs between Gambhir and Kohli accelerated India’s run-rate and they were well in the hunt when Gambhir was run out with the score at 201 for three.

Raina (40 not out) carried on the big hitting with Kohli and the pair added a further 120 runs off just 55 balls to see India cruise to an unexpectedly comfortable victory.

Kohli smashed Lasith Malinga for 24 runs off the 35th over and leave India just 18 runs away from a bonus-point victory.

“They had the licence to go for it today, there was nothing left for them to do but to go for it which they did,” Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, said.

“The wicket played pretty well, we didn’t pick up wickets up front and they batted exceptionally well.

“It’s tough to try to stop somebody [Kohli] going like that, everything he hit was pretty solid today.”

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Video: Review of Pakistan vs England cricket series in the UAE