Cricket Expert & Columnist
Virat Kohli: India batsman has talent, temperament and cricketing intelligence in droves
Exceptional hand speed helped Delhi-born dynamo fire country into World T20 final
Last Updated: 04/04/14 7:25pm
Kohli, 25 scored an elegant 72 not out off 44 deliveries against South Africa - a knock featuring five fours and two sixes - to ease India into Sunday's showpiece versus Sri Lanka with five balls to spare.
And Atherton was glowing in his praise of the Delhi-born star, who has now scored three half-tons in the 2014 tournament and averages just shy of 40 in international Twenty20 cricket.
"India were just too good and absolutely strolled to the victory target [of 173] , and there was not a moment when you didn't think Kohli was in charge," he told Sky Sports after Duncan Fletcher's side's six-wicket triumph.
"He knew exactly what he was doing during an outstanding innings, and he not only has talent but also cricketing intelligence - which he showed with the twos he ran mid-innings after perfectly weighted shots - and faith in himself.
"There was a comment that came out of a press conference Ashley Giles did when he talked about England having an egoless dressing room - but that's not necessarily a good thing in international sport.
"You can see that Kohli has a bit of an ego and wants to be the man of the semi-final and when you put all his attributes together you've got a great player.
Kohli - who also has six Test centuries and 19 one-day international hundreds on a glittering CV - scampered between the wickets in Dhaka, but Atherton was impressed by the batsman's finesse as well as his fitness.
However, fellow pundit David Lloyd was critical of South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis' decision to open the bowling with medium pacer Albie Morkel and part-time twirler JP Duminy when he had a lethal paceman within his ranks.
"Kohli is a great athlete, in a way Indian cricketers of my generation perhaps weren't," said Atherton, "But the speed of his hands through the ball is excellent.
"He gets fabulous pace onto the ball and he can hit it all around the ground, too, but he picks his spots and moments brilliantly and every time you felt he needed a boundary, one appeared."
Bumble added: "Why did Du Plessis open the bowling with Duminy and Morkel, his two worst bowlers, when he has got a world-class bowler in Dale Steyn?
"It's okay starting with them against [lesser opposition] but you have to get your best man on against India. They didn't and were made to look like selling-platers."
Watch the ICC World T20 Final between India and Sri Lanka in Mirpur, live from 1pm on Sunday on Sky Sports 2, directly after the Women's Final as England tackle Australia.