Virat Kohli’s Masterclass at the World Cup: A Century to Remember

Kohli celebrates his record-equalling 49th ODI hundred

On a day when Virat Kohli could have celebrated with cake and candles, he chose to mark his 35th birthday with a willow and leather on the cricket field. Kolkata’s Eden Gardens was abuzz with anticipation as Kohli walked out to bat, and the maestro did not disappoint. A cracking 119-ball century against a formidable South African bowling attack was the perfect gift to himself and the billions of his fans.

The Record-Equalling Feat

This wasn’t just another hundred, it was a historic moment where Kohli’s name was etched alongside the legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s in the annals of cricket. His 49th ODI ton matched that of Tendulkar’s, achieving it in a staggering 174 fewer innings. This not only showcased Kohli’s brilliance but also his consistency and dominance in the one-day format over the years.

Comparison with Cricketing Greats

Virat Kohli now sits at the summit of an illustrious list, tied for the most centuries in the ODI format:

  • Virat Kohli (India) – 49 hundreds
  • Sachin Tendulkar (India) – 49 hundreds
  • Rohit Sharma (India) – 31 hundreds
  • Ricky Ponting (Australia) – 30 hundreds
  • Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) – 28 hundreds

England’s Joe Root, notable for his technical prowess, trails with 16 centuries, highlighting the gulf in the number of centuries scored by the top batsmen.

Kohli’s Humble Reflections

After the match, an emotional Kohli reflected on his journey. He spoke with humility, crediting his childhood idol, Tendulkar, for setting the bar. 

To equal my hero’s record in ODI is a huge honour. There’s a reason we all looked up to him. He is perfection with batting.

A Partner’s Praise

AB de Villiers, a former adversary turned ally at the Royal Challengers Bangalore, had only words of admiration for Kohli’s “laser-focused” demeanor. “He is an incredible player,” de Villiers commented, acknowledging the monumental nature of Kohli’s achievement.

Kohli scored his first and 49th ODI hundreds in Kolkata - against Sri Lanka in 2009 and then South Africa on Sunday

Charting the Course to Victory

Kohli’s century played a pivotal role in India’s emphatic win, with the team posting a formidable total and subsequently bundling out South Africa for a paltry score. This victory wasn’t just about the numbers, it was a statement of intent from a team and a player looking to reclaim the World Cup glory they last savored in 2011.

The 2011 Nostalgia

Kohli’s feat rekindled memories of the 2011 World Cup, where he was part of the Indian squad that lifted the trophy. The image of the young Kohli carrying Tendulkar on his shoulders, symbolically shouldering the hopes of a cricket-crazed nation, is etched in every fan’s mind. That World Cup win was not just a triumph but a passing of the torch from one generation to the next.

Kohli has earned a reputation as a master of the chase, and his average soars when batting second. This ability to steer India to victory while under the pressure of the scoreboard is what sets him apart from his contemporaries and cements his place as one of the greats of the game.

A Legacy in the Making

As Kohli equalled Tendulkar’s record, the question on everyone’s mind was not if but when he would surpass it. With the Netherlands’ game on the horizon, many are betting on Kohli to take that final step and become the outright leader in ODI centuries.

Kohli’s Centuries: A Statistical Overview


Kohli’s record is a testament to his relentless pursuit of excellence, and his statistics speak of his undying hunger for runs.

The Path Ahead

As the World Cup progresses, Kohli’s form will be crucial to India’s fortunes. But beyond the runs, it’s the legacy that Kohli is creating that will inspire the next generation. Each stroke, each century, each victory is a narrative in the grand story of a cricketing legend who is still in the making.

Kohli concluded with a sentiment that is sure to resonate with every cricket fan:

It’s an emotional moment. I know where I come from and used to watch him on TV. His appreciation means a lot to me.

The Dream Continues

As Kohli sets his sights on future glories and more records to break, the cricketing world watches with bated breath. For in him, they see the embodiment of cricketing excellence, a dream that plays out in stadiums around the world every time he walks out to bat. The birthday century was more than just a statistic, it was a celebration of passion, determination, and the sheer joy of cricket.

General Sport Observer Marc Defaou
reviewed by: Marc Defaou (Sport Expert)

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