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Virat Kohli retires on a high with match-defining performance in T20 WC 2024 Final

Virat Kohli retires from T20Is after playing an innings for age in T20 World Cup 2024 final. Virat Kohli announces his retirement from T20Is post WC final game.

Virat Kohli retires from T20Is after playing an innings for ages in T20 World Cup 2024 final | Walking Wicket (Source_ ©Twitter_X)
Virat Kohli announces retirement from T20Is (Source: ©Twitter/X)

Everyone had tears of joy by the time India ended their 11-year drought of winning an ICC trophy. They finally won their second Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024, ending a 17-year long wait. However, Virat Kohli decided to make India cry a little more, even if just for a moment. He announced his retirement from T20Is after clinching the title in Barbados.


‘This is my last T20 game playing for India, (and) my last World Cup I was going to play,’ Kohli expressed after winning the ‘Player of the-Match’ award for his 59-ball 76-run knock against South Africa in India’s seven-run victory. ‘God is great. I bow my head in gratitude. I’m really grateful, (and) was able to get the job done when it mattered the most.’


This brings the curtains down on a 14-year-long T20I career that started in 2010 against Zimbabwe. During this time, he managed 4,188 T20I runs in 117 innings at an average close to 49. His strike rate of around 140 shines like a diamond alongside 38 fifties and one century.



A supremely calculated 76-run knock in the final

For the first seven innings in the T20 World Cup 2024, Kohli scored only 75 runs, at an average of under 11. His strike rate was exactly 100. With India being unbeaten until the semi-final, it wasn’t getting noticed. However, questions were raised and concerns were growing.


‘He’s (Virat Kohli) is a quality player, and you can go through that (ordinary) form. He’s looking good, the intent is there.’- assured India captain Rohit Sharma after the semi-final against England. The head-coach Rahul Dravid predicted a classical knock from Kohli’s bat in the final. 


The stage was huge. And with India batting first, there were early nerves around the camp. Marco Jansen pitched up the delivery, as Kohli opened the face to drive it through point for a four. The next ball was on the straight line, as the batter flicked it through square leg for the same result. Two balls later, the left-arm pacer aimed for more swing, and pitched it on the off-stump. Kohli moved forward and pushed it back gently down the ground for another boundary. Suddenly India and Kohli went off to a flier. 


But in 18 balls, the Proteas made a huge comeback, picking up three crucial wickets. Two of them were in-form Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav. The situation demanded Kohli to play the anchor role, with Axar Patel on the other end. Rather than being too aggressive, the requirement was to play risk-free cricket, and the Delhi boy did the same. 


Having hit four boundaries in his first 13 balls, he hit none for the next 35. From 21 of 13, Virat took 48 deliveries to bring up his fifty, the slowest of his entire T20I career. But he wasn’t playing dots. In those 35 non-boundary balls, he had only five dots. Kohli ended up with 76 runs in 59 balls, thanks to the boundaries he smashed to Kagiso Rabada towards the end.


Could he have gone a little harder? Did he leave the onslaught a bit too late? Should they have gone for 185 and risked getting bundled out for 150? In the end, as things progressed, it turned out to be a special, calculated knock from Kohli.


He finished this T20 World Cup with 151 runs, at an average of under 19. The strike rate stayed under 113. The figures mean that this was his worst T20 World Cup campaign, but surely a memorable one. ‘It was the occasion that helped me put my head down and respect the situation rather than trying to force things out there,’ Kohli reflected. 


T20 World Cup 2024, Final, IND vs SA_  Virat Kohli scored 76 runs in the Final _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©BCCI_X)
Virat Kohli scored 76 of 59 balls in the Final (Source: ©BCCI/X)
When situations demands, Kohli arrives

India were playing a big match and the attention suddenly got to Virat Kohli. The 35-year-old has a knack of standing on the expectation, most of the time. Going back to the 2014 T20 World Cup semi-final against South Africa, he was key in the tricky chase. He remained unbeaten on 72 runs in 44 balls to carry the team to their second final. 


Two years later, the 2007 champions needed to win against Australia to qualify for the knockouts. The team was limping at 49/3 in a 161-run chase at Mohali. Kohli stood before the whole opposition and shouldered them to the semi-final with an unbeaten 82-run knock in 51-balls. 


Who can forget Melbourne 2022 and the signature punch over long-on for a six? The team was struggling at 31/4 while chasing 160, and that too against Pakistan. The only man sheltering Indian hopes was Virat Kohli. That match-winning unbeaten 82-run knock proved how well he handles pressure. 


Melbourne Madness_ That Haris Rauf over and those two Virat Kohli sixes on back-to-back balls in 19th over against Pakistan in T20 World Cup 2022 _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC_Getty Images)
Virat Kohli's innings against Pakistan in Melbourne (Photo: ©ICC/X)
The character of playing for the team

As India realised the modern generation of T20Is seeks aggression from the start, they needed a different template. Most importantly, they needed their senior players to respond. Kohli came up with his 2.0 version, at the opening spot. 


‘I play the game my team wanted (me) to play’- Virat said at the end of the final. Even after under-performing and being short of runs, he kept on going for the big shots. That’s only because the team wanted him to do it. 


As he retires, Kohli finishes as the second-highest run-getter in the format with 4188 runs. The topper of the list, Rohit, has made 43 runs more than him while featuring in 34 more innings. The strike rate between them does not have a huge difference too. 


In T20 World Cups, Kohli ends at the peak with 1292 runs in 33 innings. The average of 58.72, before the start of this edition, was close to 100. The strike rate stays close to 130.


‘What better than finishing off the T20 career with a World Cup win,’ the next potential head coach of India Men’s team, Gautam Gambhir, remarked. 


India will keep on going with more aggression in the shortest format. But there will be vital moments when the need of the hour would be to respect the conditions. Fortunately, there are many Virat Kohli knocks to take inspiration from. 

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