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Kohli paints ‘perfect picture’ with record 50th ODI ton

Virat Kohli celebrates a cricket milestone in the clash against New Zealand.

Virat Kohli celebrates a cricket milestone in the clash against New Zealand. Photo: Getty

India superstar Virat Kohli has hit a record 50th century in one-day internationals, describing his landmark as the “perfect picture” as he surpassed the mark he shared with countryman Sachin Tendulkar at the World Cup.

Kohli raised his arms then sank to his knees and bowed to the fans with his helmet off on Wednesday (AEDT) after reaching three figures in the hosts’ eventually emphatic semi-final triumph against New Zealand at the Wankhede stadium.

He was 100 not out after facing 106 balls in what had been a virtually chanceless innings to that point.

The 50-year-old Tendulkar, the highest run-scorer in ODI and Test cricket, was in the crowd in Mumbai to see the latest landmark reached by Kohli, who was eventually dismissed for 117 and applauded off the field by India’s fans.

Virat Kohli has now scored 711 runs at this World Cup, a record for any edition.

The 35-year-old Kohli, nicknamed “The King” in India and arguably the world’s most famous cricketer, was appearing in his 279th match in ODIs after making his debut in the 50-over format in 2008.

It was his third century at this World Cup, which he is making his own. He’s now scored 711 runs in this edition, the most by any batter in a men’s World Cup, surpassing Tendulkar’s 673 in 2003. His eight scores of 50-plus is also a record for a single tournament.

“It’s stuff of dreams, Anushka (his wife) was sitting right there, Sachin paaji was there in the stands,” Kohli said in the innings break.

“It’s very difficult for me to explain this, but if I could paint the perfect picture, I would want this to be the picture.

“My life partner, the person I love the most, she’s sitting there. My hero, he’s sitting there. And I was able to get the 50th in front of all of them and all these fans at Wankhede as well, such a historic venue. It was amazing.”

He finished the group stage as the top run-scorer in the tournament with 594 and averaging exactly 99.

Tendulkar scored his 49th hundred in his 451st ODI innings, and Kohli equalled that landmark in just 277 innings – and now he’s broken it in his 279th innings.

“I said it in Kolkata, the great man (Tendulkar) just congratulated me, all this feels like a dream for me, honestly,” Kohli said.

“It’s too good to be true, feels surreal, I never thought I’ll be here ever in my career. Just to help the team so many times, again, a big game today, I had to kind of play the role I’ve played throughout the tournament so that the guys around me can go and express themselves.

“Just glad that everything came together so nicely and we put up a great total on the board as well.”

Ultimately, inspired by Kohli’s brilliance again, India’s mammoth 4-397 proved too much for New Zealand, who responded spiritedly before finally being bowled out for 327, with Mohammed Shami taking seven wickets and pipping the former captain to the player of the match award.

-AAP

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