KOLKATA: Following his match-winning century against South Africa in India’s ICC Cricket World Cup match, which helped him equal Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI tons, star India batter Virat Kohli on Sunday said to tie with his “hero” is special for him and he is not going to be “as good as” Tendulkar.
Virat’s record-equalling 49th ODI century and Ravindra Jadeja’s five-wicket haul were the highlights of the day as India defeated South Africa at Eden Gardens. This is India’s eighth successive win in the ongoing tournament.
On equalling Sachin’s record, Virat said after the match, “It is all too much for me to take in now, to equal my hero’s record is something special for me. He (Tendulkar) is perfection when it comes to batting. I am not going to be as good as him. It was a very emotional moment for me, I know where I come from, I know the days when I watched him on TV. Just to get that appreciation from him means a lot to me. I am not going to be as good as him.”
Virat said that Team India was playing perhaps the toughest team of the tournament and he was motivated to do well. His century coming on his 35th birthday becomes even special, he added.
“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. I did wake up the excitement that today is not just another game,” said Virat.
On the pace of his innings after a fiery start from openers, Virat said that people from outside see things in different way and the surfaced slowed down drastically as the innings went on. He also said that once team reached more than 315 runs, they knew they had an above-par score in their hands.
“People from the outside look at the game in a bit of a different way. When then openers start well, you feel it is a belter but the conditions slowed down drastically. I was happy from that perspective. Once you got more than 315, we knew that we were above par. I am enjoying playing cricket, that is more important to me than phases. I’m just happy that God has blessed me with that enjoyment. I am just happy that I’m being able to do what I have done over the years,” said Virat.
Coming to the match, India opted to bat first and scored 326/5 in their 50 overs.
Rohit Sharma (40 in 23 balls, with six fours and two sixes) and Shubman Gill (23 in 24 balls with four fours and a six) provided India with a brisk start. After their dismissal, Virat carried on the innings with Shreyas Iyer, who scored 77 in 87 balls with seven fours and two sixes.
Quickfire cameos from Suryakumar Yadav (22 in 14 balls, with five fours) and Ravindra Jadeja (29* in 15 balls with three fours and a six) helped India reach the 300-run mark.
Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi all took a wicket each.
In the chase of 327, SA never looked like a threat. Ravindra Jadeja (5/33), Kuldeep Yadav (2/7) and Mohammed Shami (2/18) put on a bowling masterclass to bundle out SA for just 83 in 27.1 overs. With only Marco Jansen (14), Rassie van der Dussen (13), David Miller and skipper Temba Bavuma (11 each) crossing the 10-run mark.
Virat won the ‘Player of the Match’ for his century.