ICC Champions Trophy 2017
The one blemish on Kohli's stellar record
Champions Trophy final failure highlights the only flaw in India captain's otherwise stunning 50-over career
19 June 2017, 08:29 PM AEST
India's Champions Trophy defeat has further exposed the one glaring weakness in Virat Kohli's otherwise monumental one-day international record.
Kohli, the current world No.1 ranked ODI batter, was dismissed for just five in India's capitulation against Mohammad Amir with the new ball and Hasan Ali with the old en route to a 180-run defeat on Sunday.
The Indian firebrand nicked off from Amir in the third over of India's run chase when a seaming ball caught the right-hander's outside edge, only for it to be put down by Azhar Ali at first slip.
But the very next ball Kohli, perhaps wary of the seam movement, or maybe beaten by it again, got a leading edge on an attempted flick to the on-side and was well caught by Shadab Khan at point.
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It was only Kohli's second failure of the tournament, following his duck against Sri Lanka at the same venue 10 days previously.
But of more concern for India would be their leader's record in one-day tournament elimination matches.
Let's be clear: Kohli's one-day record is stupendous. He has more than 8,000 ODI runs, and just last week set the record as the fastest man to reach that milestone. He has 27 centuries and another 42 fifties in the 50-over game. He averages north of 54, and does so at a strike rate of 91.
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Which makes his record in the big games all the more perplexing.
In one-day knock-out matches – that is either a quarter-final, semi-final or final of a multi-team tournament – his record is comparatively poor.
In fact, he averages nearly 23 runs less.
Admittedly, the sample size is much smaller – just 14 of his 184 ODI matches have been elimination games.
But in those 14 matches he has scored 345 runs at 31.36, with two fifties.
But Kohli's failures with the bat do not often translate to defeat. Of the 14 matches, India have won nine – including the 2011 World Cup final – and lost five.
By way of comparison, Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian legend against which all others must be marked against, averaged 44.83 in a 463-match ODI career. In knockout games, he increased that average to 52.84 from 52 matches.
Ricky Ponting, another 50-over great, finished with a career ODI average of 42.03, only marginally better than his record of 39.76 in knockout matches. Two of Ponting's four centuries in elimination games came in tournament finals – including that epic 140 not out in the 2003 World Cup final – and the other two in semi-final matches.
Perhaps the largest discrepancy between a career mark and that in knockout contests belongs to South Africa's Hashim Amla.
The Proteas opener, who has systematically erased Kohli's name from the record books in terms of fastest to run-scoring milestones, averages 50.25 from 156 ODI matches. In knockout matches, that drops to 17.
Kohli's first dismissal in a knock-out match was the two he scored in a tri-series final against Sri Lanka in Dhaka in early 2010 – nicking behind chasing a wide ball in the second over.
In the 2011 World Cup quarter-final against Australia, he threw his bat at a David Hussey full-toss and clipped it straight to Michael Clarke on 24. In the semi-final, against Pakistan, his dismissal echoed that on Sunday, caught at backward point after getting a leading edge, departing for 9. In the final he was caught and bowled by Tillakaratne Dilshan for 35 as MS Dhoni's unbeaten 91 bailed out the eventual champions.
The 2013 Champions Trophy saw a rejuvenated Kohli in the elimination matches: an unbeaten 58 in the semi-final against Sri Lanka, and top-scoring with 43 in a low-scoring affair against England as they lifted another trophy.
Come the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Kohli managed just three of India's 302 in the MCG quarter-final against Bangladesh.
The Sydney semi-final against Australia was a low point for Kohli. Chasing the hosts' 328 and with a solid platform laid by the openers, he produced a solitary run from his first 12 balls before suddenly attempting to tackle Michell Johnson's short ball, producing a top edge that Brad Haddin safely pouched.
Last week, he made his top score in a knockout match, crashing 96 from 78 balls in the semi-final against Bangladesh as India strode to victory.
This was the Kohli of non-elimination finals, the batsman who strikes fear into opposing bowlers, as he played an incredible innings.
Pleasingly for India, that knock carried on his form from the group stages into the knockout match. He had already hit scores of 81 not out against Pakistan in India's first match of the tournament, and 76 not out against South Africa.
Virat Kohli's ODI record
Career ODI record
Matches: 184 | Runs: 8013 | 100s: 27 | 50s: 42 | Ave: 54.14 | HS: 183 | SR: 91
Elimination ODI record
Matches: 14 | Runs: 345 | 100s: 0 | 50s: 2 | Ave: 31.36 | HS: 96*| SR: 83.13