In a thrilling match that took place at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on November 5th, 2023, Virat Kohli, India’s cricketing powerhouse, achieved a remarkable milestone. Celebrating his 35th birthday, Kohli played a magnificent innings, scoring an unbeaten century and equalling the record for the most One Day International (ODI) centuries with his childhood idol and cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar.
The Men in Blue posted an impressive total of 326/5 in their allotted 50 overs. In reply, the Proteas crumbled, managing only 83 runs in 27.1 overs, as India emerged victorious by a staggering margin of 243 runs. It was a commanding performance by the Indian team, with Virat Kohli leading the way.
Virat Kohli’s Spectacular Century
The standout performer of the match, Virat Kohli, was rightly awarded the ‘Player of the Match’ on his special day. He showcased his remarkable consistency and class by scoring an unbeaten 101 runs off 121 deliveries, which included 10 boundaries. Kohli’s innings was a masterclass in building an ODI century, and it came at a crucial time for his team.
Kohli received valuable support from Shreyas Iyer, who played an aggressive innings, scoring 77 runs off 87 balls, featuring 7 fours and 2 sixes. This partnership between Kohli and Iyer helped India post a formidable total, which ultimately proved insurmountable for South Africa.
Jadeja’s Magical Spell
India’s success in this crucial encounter wasn’t limited to batting alone. Ravindra Jadeja, the left-arm spinner and all-rounder, delivered a remarkable performance with the ball.
Jadeja spun a web around the South African batsmen and finished with impressive figures of 5/33. These figures are now the second best by an Indian spinner in World Cup history, following Yuvraj Singh’s 5/31 against Ireland in 2011. Jadeja’s performance played a crucial role in dismantling the South African lineup.
Equaling the Legend, Sachin Tendulkar
However, the most remarkable moment of the day was when Virat Kohli scored his 49th ODI century. With this century, he equaled the record of his childhood idol, Sachin Tendulkar, who also has 49 centuries to his name. Kohli achieved this feat in just 277 innings, whereas it took Tendulkar 452 innings to reach the same milestone. This incredible achievement is a testament to Kohli’s consistency and his ability to excel in all conditions.
Sachin Tendulkar, known as the ‘God of Cricket,’ took to Twitter to congratulate Kohli. He tweeted, “Well played Virat. It took me 365 days to go from 49 to 50 earlier this year. I hope you go from 49 to 50 and break my record in the next few days. Congratulations!!” Tendulkar’s warm words of encouragement underline the mutual respect and admiration that the two cricketing greats have for each other.
Kohli’s Dominance Against South Africa
Kohli’s century in this match was not an isolated incident. His performance against South Africa has been nothing short of spectacular in recent times. In his last 15 ODI innings against the Proteas, Kohli has scored a staggering 1091 runs at an astonishing average of 109.10, with a strike rate of 89.86. He has notched up five centuries and five half-centuries during this period. His consistency against South Africa is unparalleled, and he now shares the record for the most centuries against them with Sachin Tendulkar and David Warner.
In the match against South Africa, Kohli’s brilliance was evident as he played with great control against both pace and spin. Against the pacers, he scored 60 runs off 57 balls at a strike rate of 105.26, while against spin, he accumulated 41 runs off 64 deliveries with a strike rate of 64.06. This adaptability and versatility make Kohli a formidable force in world cricket.
The Road Ahead
As Virat Kohli continues to dominate the world of cricket, his journey to surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 centuries will be closely watched by cricket enthusiasts around the globe. His commitment to fitness, relentless work ethic, and unwavering passion for the game make him a true cricketing icon.
Kohli’s remarkable feat on his birthday against South Africa not only signifies his greatness but also his respect for the game and the legends who came before him. It is a fitting tribute to his childhood idol, Sachin Tendulkar, and to the rich tradition of cricket in India. With more matches to come in the ICC World Cup 2023 and beyond, cricket fans can look forward to witnessing more extraordinary performances from this modern-day cricket legend, Virat Kohli.