Virat Kohli made history in the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, bringing up his 50th ODI hundred and standing alone at the top of the rankings.
Kohli was chasing fellow Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, who has scored 49 centuries in his 463-match ODI career. Third is Rohit Sharma on 31st.
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But the 35-year-old superstar has finally made history, reaching that milestone with a knock down the leg side for two in what is only his 291st ODI match.
Kohli had been close to reaching the mark earlier in the tournament, scoring 85 against Australia, 95 against New Zealand and 88 against Sri Lanka, to go with his hundreds against Bangladesh and South Africa .
Kohli eventually fell for 117 off 113 balls, but the record is safe in his pocket – as is the record for the most runs in a World Cup tournament as he rose to 711 runs, surpassing a Tendulkar’s other record of 673 set during the 2003 World Cup.
Only South Africa’s Quinton de Kock, who is on 591 runs – 120 fewer than Kohli – and New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra – 146 runs behind on 565 runs – look capable of chasing Kohli’s tally, particularly if their teams reach the final.
Kohli had been battling cramps as he approached triple figures, but nothing could stop the inevitable as the superstar now stands alone at the pinnacle of ODI cricket.
As he both ran to cross the milestone, his arms shot up into the air and he jumped and punched the air.
“Number 50 comes for Virat Kohli and he stands alone on this peak,” Harsha Bhogle said in a commentary.
“No one else there.” And that feeling of accomplishment will be tinged with a little humility with the fact that he surpassed someone he absolutely adored.
“But what a career it is.” Fifty hundreds a day. Fifty, let that sink in a little.
The humility mentioned by Bhogle was clear, as Kohli fell to his knees and appeared to pay homage to Tendulkar, bowing to the Little Master, who was in the crowd.
He also blew kisses to his wife Anushka Sharma, who returned kisses in a sweet moment as he celebrated.
Dinesh Karthik said, “The higher you go, the more alone you are and I don’t think there will be many who will stand with Virat Kohli. »
Incredibly, when Kohli passed 50, it was the first time he had reached the mark in a World Cup knockout match – let alone 100.
Former England captain Eoin Morgan said: “He reaffirms his place as one of the greatest hitters of the current generation.”
Speaking after the innings, Kohli said it was a “dream”.
“It’s too good to be true, surreal, I never thought I would be here one day in my career,” Kohli said.
“Just to help the team so many times, even today, I had to play the role that I played throughout the tournament so that the guys around me could express themselves.
“I’m just happy that everything could go so well and that we put a good total on the board as well.”
Kohli said the most important thing for him was to “make my team win”.
“It’s very difficult for me to explain this, but if I could paint a perfect picture, I would want it to be so,” Kohli said.
“My life partner, the person I love most, she is sitting there. My hero, he’s sitting there. And I was able to put the 50th in front of them and all those fans at Wankhede as well.
The reaction was rapid.
Tendulkar lashed out at I couldn’t stop laughing that day. But soon, you touched my heart with your passion and talent. I am so happy that this young boy has become a ‘Virat’ player.
“I couldn’t be happier that an Indian broke my record. And to do it on the biggest stage – in the semi-final of the World Cup – and at home is the icing on the cake.
Former Indian cricketer Subramaniam Badrinath tweeted that the record came on the 34th anniversary of Tendulkar’s debut.
Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Hafeez wrote: “Congratulations @imVkohli on world record 50th ODI – wow. Keep entertaining cricket fans around the world. Stay healthy and blessed.
Indian legend VVS Laxman commented: “What a moment! What an opportunity for Virat to create history – 50th ODI 100, and in a World Cup semi-final with his batting hero Sachin watching from the stands. Absolute champion.
Australian great Brad Hogg said: “This is a World Cup moment to go down in the history books. 50th ODI hundred and celebrating with utmost respect to the little master. Genius.”
Tom Moody said, “Words cannot express the greatness of Virat Kohli. »
But while Kohli claimed the record, Shreyas Iyer stole the show.
Iyer made 105 off 70 balls, having brought down his hundred off 67 balls, ending his innings with four fours and eight sixes.
This set up a huge score for New Zealand, with the home side making 4/397 runs from the 50 overs.
That means New Zealand will need to post the third-highest second innings score in ODI history to win – and the greatest chase in the country’s history.