Mumbai, November 15
His hero applauded, his wife blew kisses, and a football royalty watched in disbelief a packed crowd going bonkers, as Virat Kohli caressed his way into the record books with another significant cricketing milestone.
The occasion was huge -- a World Cup semifinal against New Zealand at an iconic venue -- and Kohli came up with an apt description after he went past Sachin Tendulkar for his world record 50th ODI hundred here on Wednesday.
Cheering him from the stands were, among others, Tendulkar himself, Kohli’s actor wife Anushka Sharma, and football legend David Beckham.
“Well, I'm feeling (pauses). Again, the great man just congratulated me. All this for me feels like a dream, it is surreal. It's too good to be true,” said Kohli during the mid-innings break, having scored 117 off 113 balls.
“I never felt that I will come here in my career, it is a semifinal, just glad that everything came together.”
After reaching the milestone, Kohli lifted his arms in the air, then sunk on the ground before looking towards the stand and bowing in admiration for Tendulkar.
“It is stuff of dreams, Anushka (Sharma) was there, Sachin pajji was there in the stands. My life partner, my hero - he's sitting there. And all these fans at the Wankhede.
“It's very difficult for me to explain this, but if I could paint a perfect picture I would want this to be the picture.”
During his innings, Kohli also became the highest run scorer in a single edition of a World Cup, surpassing Tendulkar's 673 runs he had aggregated in the 2003 edition.
“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. I played the role so that the guys around me can come and express themselves,” said Kohli, who has scored 711 runs so far, including three hundreds and five fifties.
“That's the key to consistency - play according to the situation and play for the team.”
After Rohit Shamra (47 off 29 balls) and Shubman Gill (80 not out of 66) set the tone, Kohli and Shreyas Iyer (105 off 70 balls) kept the momentum going before KL Rahul (39 off 20 balls) provided the final flourish, as India posted a massive 397 for four.
“In a big game, anything above 330 you are happy with, so to get to 400 is amazing,” Kohli said.
“A lot of credit has to go to (Shreyas) Iyer, the way Rohit (Sharma) and Shubman (Gill) played at the top, KL finishing with a flurry. It was a perfect batting performance but we still have to go out there and be a professional with the ball.”
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