Virat Kohli has matched Sachin Tendulkar’s world record of 49 ODI hundreds, achieving this milestone on his 35th birthday during India’s World Cup match against South Africa in Kolkata.
Kohli expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to play for India and reach this milestone on his birthday in front of a cheering crowd. He noted, “To be able to do that on my birthday, in front of the whole crowd, it’s stuff of dreams, something that as a child you wish had happened.” Kohli continued, “I am very grateful to God that I have been blessed with these kinds of moments, so much love from the fans as well and just continue to help the team in any way possible.”
The record-equalling century came off 119 balls, achieved in the 49th over of India’s innings by a single run against Kagiso Rabada, much to the delight of the near-capacity crowd at Eden Gardens. Notably, while Tendulkar reached his 49th century in his 451st ODI innings, Kohli accomplished this feat in his 277th innings during his 289th match. He remained unbeaten at 101 off 121 balls, significantly contributing to India’s total score of 326.
Kohli commenced his innings in the sixth over, and India faced an early setback when Shubman Gill was dismissed in the 11th over, with the score at 93 for 2. Kohli described the pitch as challenging to bat on, acknowledging that it began to slow down and grip more as the ball aged. He emphasized the importance of batting deep, and he and Shreyas Iyer formed a crucial partnership, adding 134 runs off 158 balls. Kohli noted, “When you lose two wickets and don’t have Hardik [Pandya] in your team, you need to bat deep and make sure that you get to a stage where the opposition feels like we have to restrict them.”
Kohli is having a remarkable year in ODIs, with more than 1000 runs and five centuries in 2023, achieving an average of 72.18 and a strike rate of 99.82. This marks the eighth time he has scored more than 1000 ODI runs in a year, surpassing Tendulkar’s record of seven.
With seven wins in seven games, India was the first team to secure a spot in the World Cup semi-finals, ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with South Africa.
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