"The great man just congratulated me, it feels like a dream": Virat Kohli after slamming record 50th ODI century
Mumbai, Maharashtra: On November 15, 2023 in Mumbai, there was only one name on everyone's lips - Virat Kohli as the star batter lit up the biggest stage with a record 50th ODI century at the Wankhede Stadium.
Kohli broke Sachin Tendulkar's landmark record for most ODI centuries during India's semifinal encounter against New Zealand at the World Cup in Mumbai.
After surpassing Tandulkar's record of most ODI hundreds, Kohli said it all "feels like a dream" to him and he is trying his best to dig deep in the tournament with the role he is provided by his team.
"Well, I'm feeling (pauses). Again, the great man just congratulated me. It feels like a dream. Too good to be true. Big game for us and I played the role so that the guys around me can come and express themselves. As I said, for me the most important thing is to make my team win. I've been given a role this tournament and I'm trying to dig deep. That's the key to consistency - play according to the situation and play for the team," Kohli said during post first inning presentation.
Following his century, Kohli bowed to Sachin, who was in the stands, enjoying the action. After a string of low scores in 2011, 2015 and 2019 WC knockout games, it was this historic knock that ended India's wait for a Kohli special in 50-over WC knockouts. Kohli celebrated this historic moment with a jump, despite battling cramps.
"It's the stuff of dreams. Sachin paaji was there in the stands. It's very difficult for me to express it. My life partner, my hero - he's sitting there. And all these fans at the Wankhede. To get to 400 is amazing; a lot of credit needs to go to Shreyas. KL finished it with a flurry [of boundaries]," Kohli said.
Kohli became the first player in the history of ODI cricket to score 50 centuries. Carrying forward the blazing start given by the openers -- skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill --, Kohli brought up his 50th ODI ton of 106 balls with 8 four and 1 six. He later opened out before eventually falling for 117 off 113 balls. His knock was punctuated with nine fours and two sixes.
Kohli scored his runs at a strike rate of over 103 before being eventually sent back by Tim Southee.
Now, Kohli has a total of 50 ODI centuries in 291 ODIs. He has overtaken his childhood idol Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 49 ODI centuries in his decorated career.