Watch: Not to be outshone by teammate Shubman Gill’s well-made century, Virat Kohli turned India’s demolition of Sri Lanka into the Virat Kohli Show, launching eight sixes on his way to 166 not out. The tally is his highest number of maximums in a single ODI innings.
Kohli had already scored 82 before his first six came on the first ball of the 41st over, an almost polite chip over long-on that only went 76m.
The next went over long-on too but came from a very different stroke: a helicopter whip of a ball pitched so far on the off side as to nearly be considered a wide if he had left it. The commentator noted that there was “a bit of MS Dhoni in that shot,” and it’s hard to disagree. It induced a broad grin from the former India captain as he bumped gloves with Shreyas Iyer in the middle.
Having reached his 46th ODI century, and his third in four matches, Kohli pressed the accelerator as sixes three and four came in quick succession. His third came from a checked drive over long off before an almighty swing saw his fourth deposited into the stands over cow corner.
Having been on the receiving end of that earlier helicopter shot, Kasun Rajitha attempted a different tactic to Kohli, deciding to bowl around the wicket for his penultimate over. It didn’t work.
Kohli took him deep over long-on again immediately with Rajitha’s first ball of the over. The Sri Lankan attempted to put it out of reach with his next delivery but it was called wide. The next ball resulted in another six, again over long on. Kohli barely needed to move as he rocked back and deposited the ball into the crowd once again.
The seventh took him past 150, and was nearly brilliantly prevented on the deep mid-wicket boundary, only for the fielder’s foot to be on the ground outside of the rope while in possession of the ball.
His eighth and final six was pulled away over long-on with the same level of disdain as several as his previous maximums.
Kohli departed the field 166* off 110 balls, and perhaps shellshocked by the barrage of boundaries that they had just been victim to, the Sri Lankans could muster only 74 in response, succumbing to the biggest margin of defeat in men’s ODI history.