When it comes to notching up most runs, including centuries and fifties, most batsmen tend to do so when they are not facing any target or under any pressure to perform. However, Kohli seems to thrive under pressure and has managed to score 65% of his ODI runs by chasing big targets successfully. It is not that he is a great batsman but that he managed to even outperform the Little Master when it came to reaching the benchmark of 27 ODI centuries. Tendulkar took 254 innings to get to this level whereas Kohli managed to snag that position with just 169 innings.
This match between Sri Lanka and India took place in Kolkata in 2009, where Kohli chased down a target of 316 successfully with Gambhir’s 150 and his century, with eleven balls to spare. Though India started out her innings on a squib, Gambhir soon scored one fifty and with Virat stroking the ball to score a smashing century in just fifty-two balls. What set this chase apart is the speed with which Kohli managed to chase down what many would consider an impossible target and got there with balls to spare.
While he has outperformed even the benchmark he had set for himself, this first ODI century certainly stands out on its own. While most batsmen wilt under pressure, make mistakes and tend to adopt a less aggressive approach, the opposite seems to hold true for Virat stroke for stroke, ball after ball.
In the end, the result is a fabulous run chase, one that riveted not just those who were the stadium to the spot, but pretty much all across India. It was and remains to this day, one of the memorable chases by Kohli and Gambhir.