During India’s global Cup match against South Africa in Kolkata, on his 35th birthday, Virat Kohli equaled Sachin Tendulkar’s global record of 49 ODI hundreds.
“I cherish every chance I get to represent India in sports. After his record-tying innings, Kohli remarked, “To be able to do that on my birthday, in front of the whole crowd, is stuff of dreams, something that as a child you wish had happened.” “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.”
Under an almost full Eden Gardens, Kohli struck history when he scored the record-tying hundred off 119 balls in the 49th over of India’s innings by hitting Kagiso Rabada to cover for a single. Kohli reached his 49th century in just his 277th innings in his 289th match, whereas Tendulkar reached it in his 451st ODI innings. He led India to a 326 total, finishing undefeated on 101 off 121 balls.
After India lost Shubman Gill in the eleventh over, with the score at 93 for 2, Kohli started his innings in the sixth over. According to Kohli, “it was a tricky wicket to bat on.” “With Rohit [Sharma] and Shubman, we were off to a terrific start. My aim was to maintain that momentum when I came in, but as soon as the ten overs were up, the ball began to grip and the wicket began to slow down as the ball grew older.
“To be honest, as soon as we lost Shubman and Rohit within ten overs, my role was to bat deep and bat till the end because that’s what I have done over the years and that’s what the team communication was well; I bat and guys bat around me and then Shreyas started hitting a few.” My roles are different from Shreyas’s. We did not anticipate scoring 327 , but when you play deep and extend the game into the final few overs, you can get a few runs more than you first anticipated.”
He and Iyer put up a third-wicket stand of 134 off 158 balls to maintain India’s momentum. “Before we left for the Asia Cup, we practiced a lot. We always batted together, Shreyas and I, because numbers three and four were against spinners. “This is the partnership that has to take center stage through the middle overs,” I said to him. As a result, we both feel fairly secure rotating the strike against spinners. Kolhi stated, “Whatever loose balls he got, he put them away, credit to him.” “You need to bat deep and make sure that the opposition feels like we have to restrict them, rather than thinking we are one wicket away from 30 runs less than what we had to chase,” I mentioned earlier, when you lose two wickets and don’t have Hardik [Pandya] in your side. He batted expertly under the circumstances, and the secret was to rotate strikes.”
After eight league games, Kohli has amassed two hundreds at the 2023 World Cup in addition to four half-centuries. He has scored 543 runs at an average of 108.60 and a strike rate of 88.29, making him the second top run scorer in the competition behind Quinton de Kock of South Africa. He has never scored more than 500 runs in an ODI World Cup before.
With this century, Kohli has continued his outstanding ODI season. In 2023, he amassed over a thousand runs with five centuries, averaging 72.18 with a strike rate of 99.82. He has surpassed Tendulkar’s record of seven times to score more than 1000 ODI runs in a year for the eighth time.
Prior to their matchup with South Africa at the top of the table, India became the first team to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals with seven victories in seven games.