Kohli played a remarkable innings, remaining unbeaten with 101 runs from 121 balls, serving as the cornerstone of India’s total of 326 for 5. This exceptional performance played a pivotal role in India’s convincing 243-run victory at Eden Gardens.”I’m enjoying playing cricket, that is more important to me than phases.I’m just happy that God has blessed me with that enjoyment. I’m just happy that I’m being able to do what I have done over the years,” Kohli said during the post-match presentation.
Even as he continues to scale new heights in his own career, Kohli maintains his deep admiration for Sachin Tendulkar.
On the day he matched his idol’s record of 49 ODI centuries, Kohli openly acknowledged that he will never reach the legendary status of the iconic cricketer from Mumbai, who captivated the cricketing world with his extraordinary talents over several decades.
Cricket World Cup 2023: India crush South Africa by 243 runs, extend winning streak to eight matches in ODI World Cup
“It is all too much for me to take in now, to equal my hero’s record is something special for me. He is perfection when it comes to batting. But I am never going to be as good as him,” he said.
He further dwelled on his adulation of Tendulkar.
“It’s a very emotional moment for me, I know where I come from. I know the days where I have been watched him on TV, and just to get that appreciation from him means a lot to me,” added Kohli.
Tendulkar had taken to X (formerly Twitter) to extend his appreciation for Kohli matching his feat.
“Well played Virat! It took me 365 days to go from 49 to 50. I hope you go from 49 to 50 and break my record in the next few days. Congratulations,” said Tendulkar.
The former Indian captain said playing against South Africa was a motivation in itself for the entire side.
“It was a big game, probably playing the toughest team in the tournament. There was a motivation to do well. Because it happened on my birthday, it becomes special and the people made it more special for me,” he added.
Virat Kohli equals Sachin’s ODI century record with 49th ton on birthday
Kohli said the rollicking start openers Rohit Sharm and Shubman Gill gave helped the team a lot in setting a fine platform.
He said India’s total on the day was above par.
“People from the outside look at the game in a bit of a different way. When the openers start well, you feel it is a belter but the conditions slowed down drastically.
“I was happy form that perspective. Once you got more than 315, we knew that we were above par,” he added.
(With PTI Inputs)