Kohli describes occasion of his 50th ODI hundred as ‘the perfect picture’

As he flicked Lockie Ferguson behind square in the 42nd over of India’s innings and completed the two that got him to his 50th hundred, Kohli celebrated with a leap and a punch in the air, before taking off his helmet, raising his arms and bowing towards the stands, where Tendulkar and Anushka stood applauding the achievement.

“It’s stuff of dreams, Anushka was sitting right there, Sachin paaji was there in the stands,” Kohli said while being interviewed during the innings break. “I mean, it’s very difficult for me to explain this, but if I could paint the perfect picture, I would want this to be the picture. My life partner, the person I love the most, she’s sitting there. My hero, he’s sitting there. And I was able to get the 50th in front of all of them and all these fans at Wankhede as well, such a historic venue. It was amazing.”

While Tendulkar had scored his 49th hundred in his 451st ODI innings, Kohli had equalled that landmark in just 277 innings – against South Africa in India’s penultimate league game of this World Cup – and then broke the record in his 279th innings.

“I said it in Kolkata, the great man (Sachin Tendulkar) just congratulated me, all this feels like a dream for me, honestly,” Kohli said. “It’s too good to be true, feels surreal, I never thought I’ll be here ever in my career. Just to help the team so many times, again, a big game today, I had to kind of play the role I’ve played throughout the tournament so that the guys around me can go and express themselves. Just glad that everything came together so nicely and we put up a great total on the board as well.”

But that wasn’t the only record of Tendulkar’s that Kohli broke during his historic hundred. He also went past Tendulkar for the most runs in a single edition of the ODI World Cup. Tendulkar had scored 673 runs in the 2003 World Cup; Kohli passed that tally when he scored his 80th run in Wednesday’s semi-final and went on to become the first batter to score 700 runs in a ODI World Cup. By the time Kohli was dismissed for 117 off 113 balls, he had 711 runs in the tournament at an average of 101.57 and strike rate of 90.68.

The hundred was Kohli’s third of this World Cup to go with five half-centuries in ten matches. In the semi-final, he came into bat in the ninth over of India’s innings, with the score on 71 for 1, and put on 93 off 86 balls with Shubman Gill and 163 off 128 balls with Shreyas Iyer. Kohli brought up his half-century off 59 balls and then scored his next 50 runs off 53 deliveries, after seeming to suffer cramps while in his 90s. He played the anchoring role as India amassed 397 for 4, the highest total in a knockout game of a World Cup.

“As I’ve said a lot of times before, the most important thing is to make my team win, and whatever it takes to do that, I’m ready to do that, whether it’s running singles and doubles, hitting boundaries, whatever the team wants me to do,” Kohli said. “I’ve been given a role this tournament, and I’m trying to play that to the best of my ability, trying to dig deep, bat long, so that the others can play around me and have that confidence that I’m going into the later overs where I can dominate with the bat as well. That’s the only key to consistency I guess, just playing according to the situation, playing for your team at all times.”