Kohli had made 77 when he tried to hook Pakistan paceman Mohammad Amir and got what he thought was a thin nick through to Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Pakistan appealed but umpire Marais Erasmus was not convinced.
Kohli, however, did not wait for a decision but walked off the field.
Replays suggested the star batsman, who in the course of his innings became the quickest player to score 11,000 one-day international runs, had erred with no spike indicating a nick detected on the Ultra Edge system.
India were then 314 for five, with the innings petering out to a final total of 336 for five after Kohli’s exit.
Kohli appeared visibly frustrated when back in the changing room.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, commentating on television, said he had walked because there was a creak in the handle of his bat and that, rather than an edge, was the sound he heard.
The practice of batsmen ‘walking’ or giving themselves out without waiting for an umpire’s decision was a familiar sight in professional cricket in many countries.
But the increasingly high stakes involved in the modern game have seen it die out, with retired Australia star Adam Gilchrist the last top-class batsman to ‘walk’ as a matter of routine.
Sunday’s incident, however, saw Kohli’s standing among opposition fans at the World Cup rise again.
In his team’s previous group match, Kohli won plaudits for calling on India supporters at the Oval not to boo Steve Smith, recently returned from a year-long ball-tampering, during India’s 36-run over reigning champions Australia.
Political tensions between India and Pakistan have repeatedly caused the abandonment of cricket matches between the border countries.
But several fans on Twitter said Kohli’s gesture on Sunday ought to see him honoured with the Nobel peace prize.
India vs Pakistan: Virat Kohli ‘walks’ but replays suggest India captain was not out – Times of India