Virat Kohli's 136 scored in India's opening Asia Cup match against Bangladesh in Fatullah on Wednesday was special in many ways. Apart from the fact that his innings, in the patient company of Ajinkya Rahane, not only rescued the world champions from a troubled start, Kohli entered the record books for a unique reason, reserved for captains in one-day internationals. (Match highlights)
The second Asia Cup game between India and Bangladesh witnessed a rare feat of rival captains scoring hundreds in the same one-day game. Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim scored 117 and Kohli responded with a brilliant century to provide the second occasion of rival skippers scoring hundreds in the history of ODIs. The first such occasion was in Dublin on September 3, 2013 in a match between Ireland and England. Ireland captain William Porterfield scored 112 and Eoin Morgan of England came up with an undefeated 124. (Read: Captaincy made Virat Kohli more responsible, says Sunil Gavaskar)
Kohli's century has triggered a debate whether India need him more as a captain or as a batsman. Although, Kohli's real test as a captain is coming up in the tougher games against Sri Lanka (on February 28) and Pakistan (on March 2), the Delhi batsman on Wednesday night showed amazing composure to first, arrest a potential slide and then, pace an innings with clinical precision. Showing responsibility is the hallmark of a good captain and Kohli showed oodles of it. He respected the good balls and punished the bad ones. Kohli grew in confidence because Rahane played the perfect foil, never in a mad rush to match his skipper. The duo produced a decisive 213-run stand for the third wicket, another Indian record in the Asia Cup. (Read: Virat Kohli fastest to 19 centuries, breaks Chris Gayle's world record)
Cricket is a game that rewards temperament and performance. It also records facts and figures and Kohli kept the statisticians busy on Wednesday. Kohli and India's victory produced a plethora of highlights. Apart from the fact that this was India's first win in 2014, India's 280 for four is their fifth highest successful chase at the Asia Cup -- their highest being 330 for four versus Pakistan at Dhaka on March 18, 2012. And, of the nine totals of 250 or more in successful chases at the Asia Cup, seven have been recorded by India. (Read: Kohli credits dad after helping India break winless streak)
Of course, it was Kohli all the way. The 25-year-old's 136 is the highest by a captain in the Asia Cup competition. This innings was a run better than Sourav Ganguly's unbeaten 135 against Bangladesh in Dhaka on May 30, 2000. Overall, 10 hundreds have been recorded by captains in the Asia Cup. Pakistan's Shahid Afridi is the only one to register two hundreds as captain. Sunday's derby clash between the arch-rivals thus makes the India versus Pakistan match all the more hot and exciting.
Kohli's innings has also opened up another interesting 'contest'. Who is a better chaser? Kohli or Mahendra Singh Dhoni? Kohli's tally of 12 hundreds in 47 innings in successful chases is the second highest in ODIs, next only to Sachin Tendulkar's 14 in 124 innings. Kohli is averaging 85.96 in successful chases while aggregating 2837 in 47 innings - the fourth best average among batsmen with at least 1,000 runs. Dhoni still remains the highest with an average of 103.00.
For India, 12 hundreds have been recorded in successful chases by captains in ODIs. Ganguly heads the chart with four, followed by two each by Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Kohli and one each by Rahul Dravid and Dhoni. The statistics seem very favourable for India, only the stars have to be in the right place as Team India desperately aim to taste some sweet victory after successive routs in South Africa and New Zealand.
(With inputs from Rajesh Kumar and HR Gopala Krishna)