Kohli continues to smash records as India blast 240 in T20I against West Indies
Virat Kohli's remarkable T20I career has continued with a breakneck 70 off 29 balls against the West Indies at Wankhede on Wednesday. The innings came as India bounced back from a loss in the second T20I by putting up a mammoth total of 3/240 which saw multiple records tumble.
It was the third highest total for India in international Twenty20 cricket, with the other two occasions coming when they put up 5/260 against Sri Lanka in 2017, and when they scored 4/244 again against the West Indies in 2016 - that game, however, they managed to lose. With just three wickets lost in this innings - and with one of those coming in the final over - Kohli was invariably not the only batsman to put together a significant innings - Rohit Sharma smashed 71 off just 34 balls while man of the match KL Rahul scored 91 off 56 deliveries before being dismissed off the third last ball of the innings.
En route to his 71, Rohit reached some milestones of his own, becoming just the third player in international T20 history to hit 400 sixes. The other two are fellow big-hitter Chris Gayle and Shahid Afridi, who have an enormous 534 and 476 to their respective names.
But while he may have shared the spotlight with these two teammates in this victory, it's Kohli who will once again merit most of the discussion in the wake of this historic innings. His 50 came in just 21 balls, which is the quickest he has reached the milestone and the fifth quickest by an Indian batsman - Yuvraj Singh owns three of the four innings ahead of him. And if you're a stats lover, it will be the impact it has on his T20I numbers - which are far beyond that of virtually every other batsman to play this format of the game - which will warrant the most interest from this innings.
Kohli owns the record of most T20I runs in history with 2,633, though he currently shares this with - funnily enough - his co-conspirator in Rohit Sharma. But while Rohit is a brilliant batsman in his own right, he has enjoyed an extra 26 innings to put these runs together and averages a still-very-good but comparatively modest average of 32.10, compared with Virat's enormous 52.66.
That number is the highest of any player in T20I history, and the only players remotely close to Virat have achieved the number in a significantly smaller number of innings. Pakistan's Babar Azam is the closest and averages a very impressive 50.17, but he has played just 36 matches and has a strike rate of more than ten less than Kohli. The rest of the top five average below 45 and have played less than 35 T20I's each, and the closest player to Kohli to have played as many games is South Africa's JP Duminy, who averages 38.68 at a strike rate significantly less than Virat's in 81 games.
Often, it's said that an average and strike rate which add up to a total of 160 is a good way to judge who falls into the very top echelon of batsmen in T20 cricket. Kohli, with a strike rate of 138.07, boasts a total in excess of 190. There are many brilliant players a rung below him who could string together careers to rival him, but for the moment he is out on top, and his unbeaten 70 in record time on Wednesday only added to what is already an historic T20I career.