ICC Men’s World Cup, Kolkata:
India 326-5 (50 overs): Kohli 101* (121), Shreyas 77 (87), Rohit 40 (24)
South Africa 83 (27.1 overs): Jansen 14 (30); Jadeja 5-33, K Yadav 2-7, Shami 2-18
India won by 243 runs
Scorecard.Group table

Virat Kohli equalled the record of fellow India great Sachin Tendulkar as he hit his 49th one-day international century in a dominant 243-run win for the hosts against South Africa in the World Cup.

Kohli, on his 35th birthday, hit 101 not out from 121 balls, sending the crowd at Eden Gardens into a frenzy.

His superb knock helped India post 326-5 from their 50 overs in Kolkata.

South Africa were then skittled out for just 83 in 27.1 overs.

It means India are assured of top spot after winning all eight of their group-stage matches.

South Africa, who have already secured a semi-final place, are second on 12 points, two points ahead of Australia in third.

Kohli put on 134 for the third wicket to anchor the India innings with Shreyas Iyer, who came to the crease in the 11th over with the score 92-2 following a typically explosive start by Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill.

Shreyas was eventually dismissed by Lungi Ngidi for 77 from 87 deliveries, before an energetic 22 from 14 balls from Suryakumar Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja’s unbeaten 29 from 15 saw the innings end with a flourish.

India’s powerful seam attack was backed up by their spinners as they breezed through the South Africa batting line-up, with Jadeja the pick of the bowlers, taking 5-33.

With India and South Africa leading the way at the top of the group stage, this match was a potential dress rehearsal for the World Cup final in Ahmedabad later this month.

And the convincing nature of this win will do little to alter India’s status as heavy favourites to lift the trophy for a third time.

Kohli draws level with the ‘Little Master’

Eden Gardens became a sea of light as the crowd lit up their mobile phones in anticipation when Jadeja nudged a single off Kagiso Rabada to bring Kohli on strike on 99 in the 49th over.

Kohli pushed the next ball to cover for a single to spark huge celebrations in the stands, with Kohli calmly raising his bat before taking off his helmet and looking to the sky.

“Every opportunity to play for India is a big one and to do this on my birthday in front of a huge crowd is the stuff of dreams. It is something you dream about as a child,” said Kohli, whose innings included 10 fours.

“To equal my hero’s record is a huge honour.

“People like comparisons – I am never going to be as good as him. He is perfection with batting.

“It’s an emotional moment. I know where I come from and to watch him on TV… his appreciation means a lot to me.”

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Tendulkar said: “Well played Virat. It took me 365 days to go from 49 to 50 earlier this year. I hope you go from 49 to 50 and break my record in the next few days. Congratulations!”

Player Hundreds Innings
Virat Kohli (India) 49 277
Sachin Tendulkar (India) 49 452
Rohit Sharma (India) 31 251
Ricky Ponting (Australia) 30 365
Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) 28 433

Legendary batter Tendulkar took 451 innings and 462 ODIs to hit his 49th century, while it has taken Kohli 277 innings and 289 ODIs.

He is also now the second-highest run-scorer at the tournament with 543 and may also have one eye on breaking Tendulkar’s record for most runs at a single World Cup, which stands at 673.

Kohli made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in 2008, and played alongside Tendulkar in the early stages of his career, including a World Cup victory against the same opponents in 2011.

He was in the team when Tendulkar made the last of his 49 ODI centuries against Bangladesh in Mirpur at the 2012 Asia Cup.

Kohli already had 10 ODI hundreds to his name at that point and the ‘Little Master’ must have had more than an inkling about who was the most likely candidate to dethrone him.

Kohli averages 58.48 in ODI cricket – the best of any player to have played 50 matches or more.

He also has an astonishing record when chasing targets in ODIs, averaging 65.24 in chases, while 27 of Kohli’s 49 hundreds have come while batting second.

Tendulkar still holds the record for the most ODI career runs, with 18,426, and has the most Test centuries, with 51. Kohli is joint 16th on the list of Test centuries, with 29.

With fewer ODIs expected to be played in the future, amid the popularity of T20 cricket, he could reach 50 ODI centuries knowing the record may never be broken again.

South Africa falter on the chase again

South Africa’s fate was perhaps decided when they were asked to chase after losing the toss.

Temba Bavuma’s side have scored 428, 311, 399, 382 and 357 when batting first at this World Cup, winning by more than 100 runs each time.

On the two occasions they have chased, the Proteas lost to the Netherlands and scraped a one-wicket victory against Pakistan.

Their innings got off to a terrible start when tournament top-scorer Quinton de Kock chopped Mohammed Siraj onto his own stumps after scoring just six.

Their conservative approach in the powerplay, with the aim of preserving wickets before pushing on later in the innings, also backfired when Bavuma and Aiden Markram fell cheaply to reduce the Proteas to 35-3 after 10 overs.

They never really recovered as wickets then fell with alarming regularity to an India attack that bowled out Sri Lanka and England for 55 and 129 respectively in their previous two matches.

Only four players reached double figures, with bowling all-rounder Marco Jansen top scorer with just 14.

‘I think we are getting better’ – What they said

Player of the match Kohli: “It was a big game and we were playing the toughest team in the tournament who have played well so far. Because it’s my birthday it becomes more special. I had the sense it’s going to be something more than just one more game in the World Cup. I woke up with that excitement.”

India captain Rohit Sharma: “I think we are getting better. We look how we have played in the last three games, we played better in terms of adapting to the situation. We were put under a little bit of pressure by England but we collectively came through.

“We are not getting ahead of ourselves. There are couple of big games [left]. We have to stay in the moment which has been the talk from day one. We want to show our potential.”

South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma: “Look we know it’s a challenge. We know there’s a narrative about us chasing. We didn’t do that game a lot of justice, but I think we have our conversations as a batting group, we have discuss it unemotionally.

“The wicket played the way we suspected it would play, against all the advice we were getting. We expected it to deteriorate, but we weren’t able to adapt our skills accordingly. We could be here for the semi-finals – we got a proper look, we have to adapt.”


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