The target of 173 had the pressure of a semi-final attached, but Kohli batted like a man possessed to take India through to the World T20 final. (Getty Images)
There's such an inevitability about Virat Kohli anchoring India's run-chases in limited-overs cricket, and it once again came to the fore in Mirpur on Friday, when a victory over South Africa earned India another shot at the ICC World Twenty20 trophy.
The target of 173 had the pressure of a semi-final attached, but Kohli (72 not out) batted like a man possessed and stayed there till the end to see to it that there was none who could stop India from entering the final.
"I had to keep telling myself that I could make up later," Kohli said, taking the mantle of the senior member of the team now. "Today was one of those days when I had to keep my cool," he said, adding a touch of modesty to the otherwise aggressive brand of cricket he plays.
Another of Kohli's comments after the match showed that he knows how to pace his innings, especially in pressure situations, while keeping a check on the opposition's tactics. "I told [Suresh] Raina 'let's try to finish in the 19th over. We don't want to give Dale [Steyn] eight runs to defend in the final over. He can bowl six good yorkers'."
That signifies Kohli's game is not just based on skill but also a methodical approach to his game, which has now perched him among the top three batsmen in world cricket, and arguably the best when it comes to chasing in limited-overs cricket.
Kohli also explained how he plans his innings while chasing in Twenty20 cricket.
"I look at target in number of runs and overs to go, not runs and balls to go. Overs make it looks easier. Hundred in 10 overs sounds easier than 100 off 60 balls," he said when quizzed about his success in chasing a target.
Skipper Ms Dhoni also showered praise on Kohli, especially stressing on his consistent run.
"There are not many who are as consistent as Virat. It is great to have him at No. 3. He has always grabbed his opportunities. Something everyone needs to learn from him," the India skipper said after the match.
But in Sri Lanka, Kohli will be up against a team that knows playing on subcontinent tracks as well as India and have looked the best team in the tournament along with India.
Perhaps, the Indian run-machine already has a plan to tackele the islanders and beat them in another ICC final after the ODI World Cup in 2011.