India’s talisman Virat Kohli was delighted after playing another match-winning knock of 101* runs against South Africa in the ongoing World Cup 2023 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Sunday. India posted an above-par score of 326 runs on the board after Rohit Sharma opted to bat first.
Rohit and Shubman Gill gave a blistering start to the team as the former raced to 24-ball 40, taking the attack to South Africa’s opening pair of bowlers, especially Marco Jansen. India scored 91-1 in the first 10 overs as the batters scored at a brisk pace.
But, the Proteas spinners, particularly Keshav Maharaj kept Indian batters at bay as the run-making became difficult in the next 15 overs. However, Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli showed all the patience as they played out the difficult phase and didn’t throw away their wickets.
Iyer, who got off to a sedate start, scored 77 runs as he grew in confidence after settling in at the crease. Kohli and Iyer added 134 runs for the third wicket as they rotated the strike at regular intervals in the middle overs.
Thus, the duo played a key role in helping India post more than 300 runs on the board and Kohli was awarded Player of the Match.
Virat Kohli said after the game, “Once we got more than 315, we knew that we were above par. I’m enjoying myself, playing cricket all over again, 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 all these years.”
Kohli went on to score his 49th ODI century and matched Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of ODI centuries. The veteran added it is an honor for him to match his idol’s record.
On leveling his hero’s record, “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. It’s a very emotional moment for me. I know where I come from, I know the days I have watched him on TV. Just to get that appreciation from him means a lot to me.”
India will next take on the Netherlands at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on Sunday.