King. Master. GOAT. And now, Soothsayer? There is no shortage of adjectives which are used to describe the Indian captain Virat Kohli, but the last one must be a bit surprising for every reader. But judging by Kohli’s comments before the start of the World Cup 2019 and the way the tournament has progressed since then, the skipper has proven to be nothing short of a cricketing ‘seer.’
During the captains’ press conference right before the World Cup 2019, Kohli was asked about the possibility of 500 runs being scored by teams over the following weeks. Kohli, then in his inimitable style, answered by saying that even though it could be a ‘pretty high scoring’ World Cup, he believed teams would find it difficult to chase even 250 during the latter half of the tournament.
“Yeah, look, it (World Cup) could be pretty high scoring, but… Back home, we had a press conference and they asked us this question as well, but I said, look, 260-270 is gonna be as difficult to chase in a World Cup as chasing 380 or 370. I don’t see many high-scoring games happening in the latter half of the tournament. Yeah initially, some teams might get on a roll, but you’ll see 250 defended as well. That’s the kind of pressure the World Cup brings,” Kohli had told reporters before the World Cup began.
Just about a month later, Kohli’s words ring more accurate than ever before. When Sri Lanka successfully defended a mere 201 against Afghanistan in just the 7th match of the World Cup, people dismissed it as an inherent fault of a weak Afghan side. But two games later when New Zealand huffed and puffed their way to the 245-run target set by Bangladesh, the world was forced to sit up and take notice.
The moment which shook everyone into harking back to Kohli’s words came when Sri Lanka defended 232 against hosts and hot favorites England. The very next day Kohli himself was in the thick of the action as India just about managed to thwart Afghanistan’s pursuit of the 225-run target set by the Men in Blue.
In the past week, we have also seen Bangladesh defend 262 against Afghanistan, England falling 64 runs short of the 286-run target against Australia and India again bundling West Indies for 143 in a chase of 269.
Therefore, Kohli’s prophecy regarding the pressure of World Cup matches is undoubtedly proving to be accurate as we have already seen eight instances of a sub-300 total being defended by various countries so far. After all, this only one question remains: Did Kohli predict who will win the World Cup? You’d have to ask the man himself.