WTC Final: Will New Zealand be able to dismiss Virat Kohli within the first 30 balls of his innings?

WTC Final: Will New Zealand be able to dismiss Virat Kohli within the first 30 balls of his innings?

Kohli got out four different bowlers on his tour to New Zealand last year. At least three of them will be definitely part of the WTC Final.

Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Virat Kohli and Kyle Jamieson
Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Virat Kohli and Kyle Jamieson. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The much awaited inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) Final between India and New Zealand is only a couple of days away from getting underway. A lot has been already said about the summit clash with the experts picking their favourites. It is definitely a battle between two fantastic bowling line-ups in favourable conditions but one batsman who holds key to India’s success is Virat Kohli.

The Indian skipper loves to lead from the front always but unfortunately, hasn’t clicked for the team in the last few ICC tournament knockouts. No wonder he will have his eyes set on the big prize as India aim to win their first ICC trophy under Virat Kohli’s leadership. For that to happen, Kohli has to perform to the best of his abilities with the bat and most importantly, he should be very careful early on in his innings.

Virat Kohli’s single digit scores against New Zealand in Tests (Caught, Bowled and lbw)

Type of Dismissal Fielder Bowler Runs Inns Test Match
caught Peter Fulton Tim Southee 4 2 Auckland, Feb 2014
caught Ish Sodhi Neil Wagner 9 1 Kanpur, Sep 2016
caught Tom Latham Trent Boult 9 1 Kolkata, Sep 2016
caught Ross Taylor Kyle Jamieson 2 1 Wellington, Feb 2020
lbw Tim Southee 3 1 Christchurch, Feb 2020

Any batsman is a bit nervous early in the innings but Virat Kohli is more vulnerable, especially when the red cherry is new. He has been dismissed by the New Zealand bowlers (caught, bowled and lbw) for single digit scores on five occasions. And most of the times, the dismissals have been lbw or caught by wicketkeeper or in the slip. The best example of the same was India’s New Zealand tour in 2020 when Kohli was dismissed for 2 and 3 in the first innings of both the Tests.

Another interesting point to note here is, Virat Kohli’s all single scores against New Zealand have come in the first innings, home and away both. His dismissals on New Zealand tour last year are a perfect testament to how the 32-year-old is very much vulnerable early on to the outside the off-stump line or in his defence.

Kyle Jamieson, the debutant then, got the better of him in the first innings of the opening Test. Kohli chased a wide delivery to play a cover drive and ended up edging the ball to the slips. Tim Southee, his nemesis at the international level, dismissed him in the first innings of the second and final Test with a fullish delivery which was attacking the stumps catching him plumb in front.

However, when it comes to England, Virat Kohli significantly improved his game when India toured in 2018. All his single digit scores in the country (when dismissed caught, bowled and lbw) came during the dreaded 2014 tour.

Virat Kohli’s single scores in England in Tests (Caught, Bowled and lbw)

Type of Dismissal Fielder Bowler Runs Inns Test Match
caught Ian Bell Stuart Broad 1 1 Nottingham, Jul 2014
lbw SCJ Broad 8 3 Nottingham, Jul 2014
caught Ian Bell JM Anderson 7 3 Manchester, Aug 2014
lbw CJ Jordan 6 1 Oval, Aug 2014

Virat Kohli prone to getting out until he crosses 30

In the testing conditions, Virat Kohli is still not set even after getting into double figures. He can still bluffed with the different lines and lengths and the best example of the same was Trent Boult catching him off guard with a well directed short delivery. After he got into the double-digit scores, the left-arm seamer came round the wicket to attack with an aim to attack the stumps.

But Boult surprised Kohli with a short ball who was already forward expecting a fuller length delivery outside off. The latter then looked to take on the bouncer and was expectedly late in going back and playing a pull shot eventually edging the ball to the keeper.

Scores between 10 and 30 against New Zealand in Tests (All type of dismissals)

Type of Dismissal Fielder Bowler Runs Inns Test Match
caught Ish Sodhi Mark Craig 18 3 Kanpur, Sep 2016
lbw Jeetan Patel 17 3 Indore, Oct 2016
caught BJ Watling Trent Boult 19 3 Wellington, Feb 2020
lbw Colin de Grandhomme 14 3 Christchurch, Feb 2020

On the other hand, Colin de Grandhomme got the better of Kohli while on 14 with a delivery that was on a fullish length and cut back in sharply. Kohli was vulnerable with his front-foot planted and his head fell over on the off-side even as the ball thudded into the pads in front of the off-stump. Another noteworthy point in this aspect is, the Indian captain got out to four different bowlers during New Zealand tour last year, all of whom will be most probably playing in the WTC Final.

Until he crosses the 30-run mark, Kohli remains vulnerable to getting out to the pacers as only thrice, and that too twice in India, he was dismissed by the spinners. In England too, India’s number four was undone by the pacers, all different, and twice in 2018, after crossing the 30-run mark. This proves that Virat Kohli should not be complacent with the bat in the WTC Final even after spending a lot of time in the middle until he crosses 30.

Scores between 10 and 30 in England in Tests (All type of dismissals)

Type of Dismissal Fielder Bowler Runs Inns Test Match
caught MJ Prior JM Anderson 25 1 Lord’s, Jul 2014
caught JC Buttler MM Ali 28 4 Southampton, Jul 2014
caught AN Cook CJ Jordan 20 3 Oval, Aug 2014
caught JC Buttler CR Woakes 23 1 Lord’s, Aug 2018
caught OJ Pope SCJ Broad 17 3 Lord’s, Aug 2018

But what after Virat Kohli crosses the 30-run mark?

Now through the whole article, it has been told how Virat Kohli is vulnerable before early on in his innings and before getting to the 30-run mark. Well, has any one imagined his numbers after crossing 30? He is literally unstoppable against New Zealand after getting his eyes in.

Overall, in 8 innings Kohli has managed to cross 30 and has scored 678 runs at a terrific average of 113. He has also scored three centuries, including a double-century, and three fifties which is truly magnificent. This makes it clear that the Kiwis will have to dismiss the Indian captain as early as possible or else they will have to chase the leather in the final.

Scores after crossing 30 against NZ in Tests (All type of dismissals and not-outs also considered)

Runs Scored Balls Faced Fours Sixes Inns Test Match
58 107 8 0 1 Hyderabad, Aug 2012
103 193 14 1 2 Bengaluru, Aug 2012
51* 82 9 0 4 Bengaluru, Aug 2012
67 102 12 0 4 Auckland, Feb 2014
38 93 4 0 2 Wellington Feb 2014
105* 135 15 1 4 Wellington Feb 2014
45 65 7 0 3 Kolkata, Sep 2016
211 366 20 0 1 Indore, Oct 2016

Add to this, Virat Kohli’s exceptional tour of England in 2018 when he slammed a whopping 593 runs in five Tests at an average of 59.30 with two scintillating centuries. Very rarely did he falter and ended up scoring three half-centuries as well. Having last scored a century in November 2019 against Bangladesh, team India fans will be desperate for Kohli to survive the initial phase and once he does that, as numbers suggest, the Indian captain will be unstoppable.

Scores after crossing 30 in England in Tests (All type of dismissals and not-outs also considered)

Runs Scored Balls Faced 4s 6s Inns Test Match
39 75 3 0 2 Southampton, Jul 2014
149 225 22 1 2 Birmingham, Aug 2018
51 93 4 0 4 Birmingham, Aug 2018
97 152 11 0 1 Nottingham, Aug 2018
103 197 10 0 3 Nottingham, Aug 2018
46 71 6 0 2 Southampton, Aug 2018
58 130 4 0 4 Southampton, Aug 2018
49 70 6 0 2 Oval, Sep 2018

Bring it on the WTC Final!