Mohali : With the series squared at 1-1, Mohali battle was much more than a win or loss for both teams. And, this was evident when Virat Kohli chose to remain quiet after reaching his 26th ODI century on Sunday.
He knew it well then that the celebration can wait as India needed 73 more to win from 59 deliveries to eclipse New Zealand’s total of 285. With new batsman Manish Pandey at the other end, it was important for him to keep his composure at this stage. His 151-run partnership with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the third wicket had just come to an end. So, he kept his head down after reaching his century under the pressure of chase.
And, Kohli finally exploded but only after hitting 22 runs in the 48th over bowled by Trent Boult to put India at the doorstep of victory. Pandey completed the formalities to give India a seven-wicket win with 10 deliveries to spare and take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
Kohli’s unbeaten 154 off 134 balls ensured that every cricket fan present at the stadium celebrated an early Diwali with each of his cracking shots.
His extra-ordinary career now has 17 tons under his belt while chasing from a total of 94 innings. And that’s the reason Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 17 centuries from 232 innings while chasing looks pale in comparison.
Earlier, Kohli and Dhoni came together at a point when India had lost both openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma with 41 on the board. A chase under lights was never going to be easy, considering that Dhoni’s self promotion in batting order has left India with only new comers like Hardik Pandya or Axar Patel to do the finisher’s job.