World Cup 2019: A hat-trick of opener hundreds beckons Virat Kohli

Published: Jun 04, 2019, 08:50 IST | Harit N Joshi

Virat Kohli looks set for his third World Cup opener hundred as India take on SA tomorrow at Rose Bowl where he scored just nine in the 2011 ODI v England

World Cup 2019: A hat-trick of opener hundreds beckons Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli during a training session at the Rose Bowl in Southampton yesterday. PIC/AFP

Harit ColumnSOUTHAMPTON: There’s something unique about sporting heroes — it is hard to be satisfied and keep expectations in check.

Irrespective of their records and achievements, you still expect more. And more. You still look forward to another Grand Slam victory from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. You expect magic every time the feet of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi meet a football. Despite 15 Majors, you still want Tiger Woods to beat Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18.

Expectations are somewhat similar with Virat Kohli, arguably the best batsman of this generation. Kohli has scored hundreds in each of India’s World Cup openers in 2011 (against Bangladesh) and 2015 (against Pakistan) and will be looking at a special hat-trick here tomorrow.

The Indian skipper has scored tons of runs world over; there’s hardly any cricket ground left where Kohli has not left his mark. However, as with other greats, it is never enough. As India kick off their World Cup campaign against South Africa here tomorrow, it is a perfect opportunity for Kohli to set the tone for the tournament.

This is the only ODI venue where his score is in single digit. In the only 50-over game that he played here in 2011, Kohli faced nine balls and scored nine runs, averaging nine. He mistimed one from England offie Graeme Swann and holed out to Ian Bell at long-on.

Only Kohli and MS Dhoni are still a part of the Indian team that had lost to England by seven wickets in the second ODI of that series. Put into bat, India managed just 187-8 in 23 overs. Tim Bresnan and Swann claimed three wickets each before skipper Alastair Cook carved an unbeaten 80 to help England chase the total with ease.

Back to the World Cup. Kohli had a nice net session yesterday but most importantly he allayed any fears of a thumb injury before the opening contest. He timed the ball sweetly as ever while taking knocks.

He then took some throw-downs from assistant coach Sanjay Bangar and throwdown specialist D Raghavendra, popularly known as Raghu. India will play two World Cup games here and Kohli will not want to wait for the second game (June 22 against Afghanistan) to come good at this Hampshire venue.

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