Over the question of denying singles to ensure Kohli farms most of the strike and completes his century, KL Rahul, who was Kohli’s partner in the middle during the closing stages of India’s win over Bangladesh, said that the former India captain was in two minds and even mentioned “it will not look nice to not take a single”.
ICC World Cup 2023: Virat Kohli slams 48th century as India beat Bangladesh
“He was confused actually. He said ‘it will not look nice to not take a single. It’s still a World Cup, still a big stage. So I don’t want to look like I want to get to the milestone (century)’,” Rahul had said after the match while talking to Sanjay Manjrekar on live broadcast.
Rahul also shared his reply to Kohli.
“I said ‘(I know) it (the match) is not won, but we will still win this quite easily. So if you can get to the milestone, why not! You must try’,” said Rahul.
A delivery down the leg-side by spinner Nasum Ahmed was surprisingly also not declared a wide by the umpire, which was later alleged as a failed atempt by the bowler to prevent Kohli from scoring his century as the runs required for India to win and Kohli to complete his century were near identical. The Indian batting icon accomplished both with a six.
However, some of the expert opinions don’t agree with the mindset of getting to a milestone, while some don’t mind that.
Here’s who said what on the issue:
“As much I wanted Virat Kohli to score that hundred, you have to keep in mind, you want to finish the game as early as possible. You want your net run rate to be at the top. If you are in a position where you are fighting for the net run rate, then you don’t want to look back and say ‘you could have done that’,” Pujara told ESPNcricinfo.
“That’s where I feel that as a collective decision, maybe you have to sacrifice a bit. You want to look at the team, you want to put the team first, that’s how I look at it. You want your milestone, but not at the cost of the team. As a player, you always have a choice. But some players feel if they get a hundred, it helps them in the next game. So it depends on what kind of mindset you have.”
“My initial reaction was he has earned the right to get to his hundred. You have got to be very careful in these tournaments. These things matter. The great Ian Bishop often talks about this, these things matter. The sporting gods are sinister-like. If you start flirting with that sort of form, then it can bit you. But it’s a decision that they (Kohli and Rahul) both took. I don’t really have a problem with that.”
“He (Kohli) fielded for the first 50 overs, and then, in the 90th over of the match, he took back-to-back twos. That shows his fitness, that shows that this guy is from another planet. They were winning pretty easily, century ho rahi hai toh hone do (if the century can be completed, then do it),” Akram said during a show on Pakistan news channel ‘A Sports’.
“It was extremely enjoyable to watch his batting. He took last-ball singles to retain the strike. That also shows his smartness. A wide was purposely bowled so that the century was not scored. It was the bowler’s plan. How can a spinner bowl a wide!,” Kaif said on Star Sports after the match.