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28 February 2012: When a brash Delhi boy became a mean run-scoring juggernaut

Kohli (133* off 86 balls) smashed a couple of boundaries in the next Malinga over to help India overhaul the target in a mere 36.4 overs

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

28 February– As you are reading this- you’d be like what is so special about this date. You’d be like: “We didn’t win any World Cup on this day” nor did “any future Indian superstar was born on this very date”. So, what’s the significance? Well! If you add the year 2012 to the aforementioned date, you’ll well-and-truly understand where I’m coming from.

28 February 2012– Does it ring alarm bells in your heart now? Does it signal something in your head? Does it pump your heartbeat; sweep you off your feet as you try and remember what exactly happened on this very day, exactly eight years?

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I guess many of you would have guessed by now; your mind would have subtly rewind to that day in Hobart when a young Indian showed his first glimpse of what was to follow in the years to follow. Okay! Let’s come to the point and unravel this puzzle to the core.

28 February 2012. India vs Sri Lanka. CB series. Hobart, Australia

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

“He’s carried the burden of the entire nation for almost two decades; it’s time we carry him on our shoulders” Virat Kohli’s statement in the immediate aftermath of India’s 2011 World Cup win, has now assumed immortal status in the cricketing folklore.

But, back then, no one would have thought that Kohli meant each and every word of that statement literally. He was about to take over the mantle from the great man and emerge as a new lease of hope for the Indians. And, 28th February 2012 was the day when the brash Delhi finally emerged as the ‘next big thing’ of not only Indian cricket but world cricket.

Now, it wasn’t as if Kohli hadn’t scored or started in India’s wins prior to that Hobart massacre. He has already scored eight ODI hundreds; he had played crucial knocks in the 2011 World Cup; Hell! He had even scored a Test match hundred in Australia [Adelaide].

What was special about that 133 against Sri Lanka in Hobart?

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

India was up against it on that day of February 28, 2012. Sri Lanka had set them a total of 321 which they needed to achieve in a maximum of 40 overs to gain a bonus point and keep their hopes alive of reaching the finals of the tri-series.

India had got off to a brilliant start courtesy Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag but when the duo departed, it needed something outrageous, outwardly from one of their batters to achieve the target in 40 overs.

Enter Virat (Beast) Kohli. The Indian No.4 looked driven from the very outset but not even he could have imagined what was about to unfold; neither would have Malinga. Kohli scored his first 50 runs in 44 balls courtesy his sumptuous cover-drives and flick-of-wrists.

It was just a calm before the storm- The Kohli Tsunami- which was going to swat away not only the Sri Lankans but also the onlookers as their jaws dropped with every shot that the Indian run-machine played.

Kohli began to switch gears and every trick that Sri Lanka tried was dealt with disdain. Slow balls? Swatted. Yorker? Crunched. Full delivery? Creamed through extra-cover. With Kohli nearing his hundred, Jayawardene turned to his ace bowler- Lasith Malinga

But Kohli was in that sort of a mood that reputations did not matter to him; he was on his way to carving out his own at the expense of Malinga. And, he did that with utmost disdain in the 34th over. After crunching Malinga towards midwicket for a couple of runs to bring up his 9th hundred, Kohli laid into the champion fast bowler and the next five ball of the over reading– 6,4,4,4,4.

Every time Malinga overcompensated with his length, he was creamed towards extra-cover and when he tried to ball on his legs, Kohli would nonchalantly flick to fine-leg.

Kohli (133* off 86 balls) smashed a couple of boundaries in the next Malinga over to help India overhaul the target in a mere 36.4 overs and that guttural roar post the winning shot was just an indication of what was to follow.

Here’s the video:

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