Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting feels Virat Kohli must have been relieved after scoring his 49th ODI century against South Africa at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Sunday. With this hundred, Kohli matched Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of centuries in the 50-over format.
Kohli was able to hit the ground running after Rohit Sharma provided a quick start. However, after the end of the Powerplay overs, Kohli was kept at bay by Keshav Maharaj.
But Kohli made the most of his experience and showed all the patience in the middle overs. The talisman added 134 runs with Shreyas Iyer, who also scored a vital knock of 77 runs. Kohli scored 10 fours in his fine knock as he batted at the top of his game.
Thus, Kohli played a key role in helping India post 326 runs on the board after Rohit Sharma decided to bat first.
Ricky Ponting said on ICC Digital Daily, “That might be a bit of a monkey off his back [49th ODI ton]. I think he has been working extra hard to equal Sachin’s record. That’s done now and it has happened at a really good time at the tournament for him. One more game to go and then they head into the semi-finals. It was an almost perfect day for Virat and a great day for India.”
While Tendulkar scored his 49th century in his 451st ODI innings, Kohli got there in just his 277th innings in his 289th match.
“There is no doubt he is the absolute best and I have said that for a long time. He didn’t need to equal Sachin’s record, he doesn’t need to break the record. If you look at his overall batting record it is incredible. To think that he got 49 ODI hundreds and equalled Sachin and in 175 less innings is unbelievable.”
Meanwhile, South Africa was skittled out for only 83 as India won by a massive margin of 243 runs and Ponting rated India’s bowling attack as the best in the tournament.
”What we have seen in this World Cup so far, is that India’s bowling attack has clearly been the best. Opposition teams are going to have to put a lot of analysis into how they play Bumrah, how they are going to play (Mohammed) Siraj, as they need to get on top of these guys early. Because if they don’t, their spinners will come and get you in the middle of the game,” the former Aussie batter concluded.
India will next take on the Netherlands at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on Sunday.