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50AT: Kohli eclipses Sachin’s 49 tons

8: Virat Kohli overtook Sachin Tendulkar (7) and Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan (7) for most 50-plus scores in an ODI World Cup

50AT: Kohli eclipses Sachin’s 49 tons

Tribune News Service

Rohit Mahajan

Mumbai, November 15

‘Kohli, Kohli, Kohli…’ screamed thirty thousand people at the Wankhede, and Virat Kohli screamed, too... He leapt up and punched the air and sank down to his knees. Then he looked up — the second run that he’d run, in the 42nd over of India’s innings, had put him in a perfect position to celebrate his feat, for he looked up and saw his idol clapping, his wife blowing kisses to him. Kohli took off the helmet and raised his arms and bowed with a flourish to Sachin Tendulkar, and blew kisses to Anushka Sharma.

Kohli’s wait for his 50th ODI century wasn’t even a fraction as painful and torturous as his idol’s wait for his 100th international century; just 10 days after scoring his 49th ODI century in Kolkata, which put him at par with Tendulkar, Kohli set the new record during the run-fest after India won the toss and elected to bat first. Kohli’s timing was impeccable — his 49th was made on his 35th birthday, the 50th in the biggest match so far in the tournament, the first knockout.

The timing was near-perfect in the middle, too; after Rohit Sharma’s blitz at the top had created the perfect launch pad, in walked Kohli at 71/1 in the ninth over. He was beaten on the second ball by Tim Southee, but the ball took the inside edge and went for four.

Kohli was scarcely beaten after that, never hurried or harried, as he could afford to take his time to get going, because at the other end Shubman Gill was driving and pulling the ball with authority, lobbing it over the infield to repeatedly hit the fence or clear it. Kohli was a sedate 29 off 39 balls, while at the other end Gill galloped to 78 off 64, India 157 after 22 overs; Kohli struck his third four on the 41st ball he faced, smashing a short one from Mitchell Santner to the boundary.

Gill walked off the field just then, with cramps, indicating that his leg from thigh down was in pain; in came Shreyas Iyer. Three quiet overs followed, but then Iyer turned to be a force-multiplier, exceeding Gill’s scoring rate. The unfortunate Rachin Ravindra got struck for the first of Iyer’s eight sixers of the day. Kohli was on a relatively quiet 52 off 63, but when Trent Boult, premier left-armer, came in for his second spell, first ball, Kohli skipped down the track and lifted the ball over the man at mid-off, four. Next over, Southee was brought on for a wicket or respite — and Kohli stepped out and swung him, with that whippy swish of his, for six over wide long-on.

It was Iyer’s show after that, but the limelight was on Kohli — he went past Tendulkar’s record of most runs in a single World Cup, 673, set in 2003. While Iyer was smashing sixers, Kohli, to move from 84 to 100, took 20 balls, in the interim getting treatment for pain in his right thigh, which he got strapped.

He then got that couple that took him to 100, and then changed gears — next ball from Lockie Ferguson, Kohli ran two, and pulled the next to the midwicket fence. Southee came back and bowled four balls that brought joy and gloom to those shouting his name — third ball of the 43rd over, Glenn Phillips ran hard but dropped Kohli near the midwicket fence; next ball, Kohli sent the ball flying over Phillips over the fence — his second six. After running two, Kohli tried to clear the fence at deep square leg — he failed, caught by Devon Conway; 117 off 113 balls, 48 off boundaries, but 69 run hard in his usual hectic manner, not bad for a man in his mid-30s.

Kohli walked off, perhaps the one time he walked happy and grinning after getting out, and yet another Kohli show, the latest in an amazing series, was over.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Bangladesh #Cricket #Mumbai #Sachin Tendulkar #Virat Kohli

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