Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli – Who tops the fab three in ICC Knockouts

Let us have a look at the performance of Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, and Kane Williamson in 20 overs, 50 overs performances separately to find out who tops the fab 3.

Sudharshan Sridharan Author

Updated - 26 June 2021 6:55 pm

Virat Kohli's performance in ICC Knockouts (especially in 50 overs format) has been a concern for the Indian fans over the years. The Indian star, who used to convert 50 to 100 in every second innings, hasn't scored a single century since November 2019. The recent performance in the WTC final has again started the debate about Kohli's inability to score big in ICC knockout games. But is Kohli the only player to fail in the big matches? Who has scored the most runs in ICC knockout games amongst fab three? Let us have a look at the performance of Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, and Kane Williamson in 20 overs, 50 overs performances separately to find out.

1. Performance in World Cup & Champions Trophy Knockouts

(i.) Virat Kohli's performance in ICC 50-Over Knockout games :

24 (33) vs Aus, 2011 WC Quarter-Final
9 (21) vs Pak, 2011 WC Semi-Final
35 (49) vs SL, 2011 WC Final

58* (64) vs SL, 2013 CT Semi-Final

3 (8) vs Ban, 2015 WC Quarter-Final
1 (13) vs Aus, 2015 WC Semi-Final

96* (78) vs Ban, 2017 CT Semi-Final
5 (9) vs Pak, 2017 CT Final

1 (6) vs NZ, 2019 WC Semi-Final

Above graph represents Kohli's performance graphically. (QF -> Quarter Finals, SF -> Semi-Finals, F -> Finals)

1 to 5 indicates WC'11, CT'13, WC'15, CT'17 & WC'19, respectively.

His poor performance in WC'15, WC'19 & CT'17 Finals has caused India's loss.

He has smashed 232 runs from 9 innings at an average of 33.14 at S/R OF 82.56. However, if we remove that 96* runs coming against Bangladesh Team in CT'17 SF, his average looks much poor and his 58* knock against SL came while chasing a low total of 182 vs SL

While calculating the average index take (Normalize)

Quarter-Finals -> 0.5
Semi-Finals -> 1
Finals -> 2

Virat Kohli's Normalized average :

[(24x0.5) + (9x1) + (35x2) + (58x1) + (3x0.5) + (1x1) + (96x1) + (5x2) + (1x1)] / (0.5+1+2+1+0.5+1+1+2+1) = 25.85

Note:- CT 2013 Final has been taken into account as a 20-over knockout game since the entire match was declared as a 20-over match due to rain.

(ii.) Steven Smith's performance in ICC 50 Over Knockout games

65 (69) vs Pak, 2015 WC Quarter-Final
105 (93) vs Ind, 2015 WC Semi-Final
56* (71) vs NZ, 2015 WC Final
85 (119) vs Eng, 2019 WC Semi-Final

Steven Smith performance in WC'15 & WC'19 in Quarter-Final, Semi-Final and Final graphically.

Smith's performance in WC'15 helped Australia to win the title.

Steven Smith has smashed 311 runs in World Cup Knock-outs at a staggering average of 103.67 from 4 innings with a S/R of 88.35. In 4 innings, he smashed only 50+ scores in ICC ODI Knockouts.

Calculating same average index (Normalize)

Quarter-Finals -> 0.5
Semi-Finals -> 1
Finals -> 2

Steven Smith's normalized average :

[(65x0.5)+(105x1)+(56x2)+(85x1)]/(0.5+1+2+1) = 74.33

(iii.) Kane Williamson's performance in ICC 50 Over Knockout games

38* (41) vs SA, 2011 WC Quarter-Final
22 (16) vs SL, 2011 WC Semi-Final
33 (35) vs WI, 2015 WC Quarter-Final
6 (11) vs SA, 2015 WC Semi-Final
12 (33) vs Aus, 2015 WC Final
67 (95) vs India, 2019 WC Semi-Final
30 (53) vs Eng, 2019 WC Final

Williamson's performance in 2011, 2015 & 2019 WC Knock-out stages have been represented respectively in the above graph

Kane Williamson has smashed 208 runs from 7 innings at a batting average of 34.67 with S/R of 73.23

Calculating average index (Normalize)

Quarter-Finals -> 0.5
Semi-Finals -> 1
Finals -> 2

Kane Williamson's normalized average :

[(38x0.5)+(22x1)+(33x0.5)+(6x1)+(12x2)+(67x1)+(30x2)]/(0.5+1+0.5+1+2+1+2) = 26.9375

Comparison graph between Kohli vs Smith vs Williamson

From the above graph, it is clear that Steven Smith is ahead of Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson in ICC 50- over Knockout stage innings.

2. Performance in ICC 20-over Knockout games

Despite being much disappointing in 50 over format, Virat Kohli's performance in T20Is is praiseworthy.

Kohli's score in 20-over Knockout games

43 (34) vs Eng, CT'13 Final
72* (44)  vs SA, WT20 2014 Semi-Final
77 (58) vs SL, WT20 2014 Final
89* (47) vs WI, WT20 2016 Semi-Final

He was the highest run-scorer in the CT'13 Finals, which India won and also his 72*(44) ensured India chase down 173 comfortably, in a high-octane game like the Semi-Final. 

However, in 2014 Final and 2016 Semi-Final his herculean efforts couldn't take India over the line.

Virat Kohli has smashed 281 runs from just 4 innings at an impressive S/R of 153.55.

Normalization for Kohli as per previous metrics in WT20's alone = [(72x1)+(77x2)+(89x1)]/(1+2+1) = 78.75   (Normalization including Kohli's 43 in CT'13 will be 66.83)

Kohli's performance in WT20's as numbers in knockouts as Runs, S.R  and Normalized one respectively:

Steven Smith has not played any World T20 Knockouts as a batsman. The only knockout game he played was in WT20 2010 and at that time he was primarily a bowler who batted at number 8.

Kane Williamson has played only WT20 2016 Semi-Final, where he smashed 32 (28) vs England in Delhi. 

So there hasn't been much about the other two players to be compared with Virat Kohli in the 20-over format.