Fighting when the chips are down, standing tall in difficult conditions to take the team to safety and playing with utmost passion is the epitaph that would define Virat Kohli. The Indian skipper has led the team with earnestness and has let the bat do all the talking in his 10 years of international cricket. In pics: Anushka Sharma's birthday post for Virat Kohli is Aww-Dorable.
On his 30th birthday, we look at some of the greatest and memorable knocks that King Kohli has played over the years.
1. 141 against Australia in Adelaide, 2014
In the very first match that he captained the side, Kohli was thrust with a tough responsibility. Not only was India batting fourth with Nathon Lyon spinning the ball drastically, but he had also made up his mind to go for the target of 364 that the rivals had set. With questions looming over his technique after a disastrous tour in England the same year, the pressure was on Kohli to anchor the innings and guide his team across.
He did just that and scored some splendid shots en route his 141. After the stand-in skipper stitched together a partnership with Murali Vijay, no middle order player could stick around and India eventually went down fighting by 48 runs. The intensity as captain was good news for the Indian fans who had gotten accustomed to the defensive approach that MS Dhoni had adapted in Tests over the eyes.
2. 133* against Sri Lanka in Hobart, 2012
The Indian side found themselves in a precarious situation in the tri-series in Australia six years ago, needing a bonus point to qualify for the finals. After Sri Lanka put on 321 on the board, the pressure intensified on the Indian side as they needed to overhaul the target in 40 overs. Chasing such a mammoth target in 50 overs is itself impossible and to achieve it in 40 looked improbable, till Kohli decided otherwise.
The batsman played a 'coming of the age' innings, smashing Lasith Malinga - the best bowler that time - across the ground and helped India achieve the total in just 36.4 overs! Later that year, Kohli scored his career-best knock of 183 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, to emphatically announce his arrival.
3. 149 against England at Edgbaston, 2018
All eyes were on Kohli as he took the field in the first Test against England this year. The ghosts of the 2014 tour - which can be termed as the only blip in his career - were difficult to eradicate despite fine performances across all formats over the years. It needed a strong start in England hence, to silence the critics once and for all.
The Indians were on the back foot at 100 for 5 and with England notching up just 287 runs, one fine innings would have been enough to bridge the lead. Enter Kohli, who tackled his 2014 nemesis James Anderson with the utmost respect, to finish just one short of 150 in the first innings. He scored a half-century in the second innings as well, but the Indians were unable to handle the pressure and succumbed by just 31 runs.
4. 113 against Kings XI Punjab at Bengaluru, 2016
Scoring a hundred in 20 overs is tough, but scoring one in a 15-over game sounds next to impossible.
But Kohli, who has made it a habit of turning impossibilities into reality was at it again in the do-or-die fixture for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Kings XI Punjab.
Struggling at the seventh position in the points table, RCB needed a strong performance from the members to finish in the top-four and champion Kohli paved the way, scoring a blistering knock of 113 in a match that had been reduced to 15 overs in a rain-curtailed game!
If that sounds astonishing, he even batted with 7 stitches on his left hand, but hardly allowed it to get in the way as he displayed his grit, determination and his hunger once again to guide his side to a massive win. Kohli eventually had become the first player to score four hundreds in the IPL season in 2016.