Going where no cricketer has has gone before, India batting titan Virat Kohli hit his 50th ODI century on Wednesday, November 15, surpassing his idol Sachin Tendulkar's mark of 49 ODI tons. Kohli found the perfect stage and occasion to do it - the all-important semi-final of ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 against New Zealand, and at Wankhede Stadium, where India had lifted the 2011 World Cup trophy and which now houses Tendulkar's statue. (Match Blog | Scorecard | Preview | Key Battles)
Kohli had equalled Tendulkar's record when got to his 49th ODI century on his 35th birthday against South Africa at Eden Gardens, where he had hit his first ODI hundred. Kohli went one better at Tendulkar's home ground and in his adoring presence, as Tendulkar watched intently from the stands, sitting alongside football legend David Beckham.
Tendulkar promptly congratulated Kohli on the unprecedented feat, posting a heartfelt message on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). Tendulkar wrote: "I couldn’t be happier that an Indian broke my record. And to do it on the biggest stage - in the World Cup Semi-final - and at my home ground is the icing on the cake."
Kohli's ton was a typically responsible one, where he eschewed the risks and married caution with positive intent. He hit eight fours and one six en route the hundred, scoring majority of his runs by sprinting between the wickets in the sweltering Mumbai heat.
He went past another milestone of Tendulkar along the way, scoring the most runs in a single edition of the World Cup. Tendulkar had hit 673 runs in the 2003 World Cup, and Kohli bettered it during his historic semi-final knock. Kohli also surpassed Aussie legend Ricky Ponting in the all-time highest ODI run-getters list. Ponting had scored 13,704 runs in his 50-over career.
Earlier, India won the toss and chose to bat in the semi-final clash against the Kiwis. India are playing the same XI as in their previous game against Netherlands, and New Zealand too are unchanged. The toss assumes importance at the Wankhede Stadium where the ball tends to swing a lot more under lights and the average second innings score has been 188 as against 357 in the first innings.
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.
New Zealand: Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, Kane Williamson (C), Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (wk), Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.