Wynne Gray: Virat Kohli's genius innings full of elegance

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Virat Kohli of India celebrates victory during the ICC WT20 India Group 2 match between India and Australia. Photo / Getty Images.
Virat Kohli of India celebrates victory during the ICC WT20 India Group 2 match between India and Australia. Photo / Getty Images.

Even in the wildest run chase Virat Kohli carried an elegance with his scintillating batting.

India's batting hero hit 34 from his last 11 balls to end on 82 not out as T20 World Cup host India ran down Australia and qualified for the semifinals in a dramatic finish at Mohali.

It was celestial batting from the Indian champion and was decribed as "genius" in commentary by his great countryman Sunil Gavaskar.

The record books show former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum with the fastest test century in 54 balls, AB de Villiers with the fastest in one-dayers from 31 balls and Sanath Jayasuriya, Martin Guptill and Kusal Pereira sharing the record of 17 balls for the quickest 50 in ODI cricket.

Other men in the modern day mix of records are Shahid Afridi, Corey Anderson, Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell and Misbah ul Haq.

They've all produced innings of pyrotechnic hitting when they have laced their way through the field and often over and into the crowd.

Before them, Sanath Jayasuriya and Adam Gilchrist clouted the ball with regular destruction while Viv Richards had the most beguiling mix of swagger, courage and skill to destroy any attack.

Most modern cricketers like David Warner and Kieron Pollard crush the ball although ramp shots, reverse sweeps and Steven Smith's audacious flick to the leg-side fence from well wide of the popping crease bring more timing than power.

Kohli manages the odd tennis smash shot and hockey slap to combat the varying heights bowlers use to try and mystify the master craftsman.

However he manages to look unflustered and unhurried as he adds the caress of purist timing to the most abbreviated and frenetic form of international cricket.

There's a bead of sweat and animated reactions when the ball soars away from the middle of his bat but little else is out of place. When he leaves a ground after a great innings as he did today, he looks like he's walking out to bat.

He carries the sort of elegance Barry Richards, Martin Crowe, Kumar Sangakarra and Greg Chappell brought to the crease.

It's the result of hours of practice to find the timing and posture which sends the ball away much faster than it arrived or the placement and ambition to send slower bowlers to different areas of the park.

They all did it with such style and Kohli is definitely nudging them for that sort of modern grace.

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