'Something you dream as a child': Virat Kohli after equalling Sachin Tendulkar's century record
India's cricket sensation, Virat Kohli, celebrated his 35th birthday by matching the legendary Sachin Tendulkar's record of 49 one-day international centuries.
Virat Kohli, on his 35th birthday, achieved a significant milestone by matching Sachin Tendulkar's record of 49 one-day international centuries during a World Cup pool match against South Africa, who were also semi-finalists. Kohli reached this remarkable feat in 119 balls with 10 fours at Kolkata's Eden Gardens. It took him 277 innings to achieve 49 ODI centuries, whereas Tendulkar, another legendary Indian cricketer, required 438 innings to reach this milestone.
Expressing his joy, Kohli, who has amassed over 26,000 international runs, stated, "Every opportunity to represent India is monumental, and scoring a century on my birthday is a dream come true."
Kohli's unbeaten 101 was the centerpiece of India's total of 326-5 in their allotted 50 overs, with Shreyas Iyer contributing 77 runs. Together, they formed a crucial third-wicket partnership of 134 runs after India's captain, Rohit Sharma, chose to bat first on a challenging pitch.
Kohli reflected on the pitch conditions, saying, "It was a tricky wicket to bat on. We had a good start. My responsibility was to maintain the momentum when I came in. After ten overs, the ball started gripping, and the pitch slowed down. My role was to bat deep and finish the innings."
He further added, "Shreyas started hitting well too. We didn't initially think we would reach 326, but that's what happens when you dig deep and take the game into the last few overs."
Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar congratulated Kohli on his achievement, humorously writing on social media, "Well played Virat. It took me 365 days to go from 49 to 50 (in age) earlier this year. I hope you go from 49 to 50 and break my record in the next few days. Congratulations."
The South African bowlers faced a tough challenge, with Marco Jansen conceding 94 runs in 9.4 overs, and the injury of Lungi Ngidi in the 49th over added to their worries.
Rohit Sharma provided a strong start for India with a brisk 40 runs, and Kohli continued his fine form from the previous match. Despite Shubman Gill's dismissal by Keshav Maharaj, Kohli and Iyer formed a composed partnership, with Kohli reaching his fifty in 67 balls. Iyer's aggressive batting style helped him achieve his half-century in 64 balls, but he was eventually caught by Ngidi.
Amidst the cheering crowd and illuminated night sky, Kohli remained composed and reached his century with a single off Kagiso Rabada. Both India and South Africa had already secured their spots in the semi-finals of the 10-team tournament.