How the cricketing world and beyond reacted to Virat Kohli's record-breaking 50th ODI century
Virat Kohli scored a record-breaking 50th ODI century, going past Sachin Tendulkar, during the semi-final of the 2023 ODI World Cup against New Zealand in Mumbai. Kohli brought up his ton off 105 balls, with a flick for two off Lockie Ferguson in the 42nd over of India's innings. Here's how the cricketing world reacted to the feat:
The moment played out in the most Kohliest of ways: a whipped-flick for a two, with the ball placed between long leg and deep mid-wicket at a distance that neither of those two onrushing fielders would be able to reach quickly enough to deny the second run. Virat Kohli ran past the crease, the stumps and the wicket-keeper before taking flight, in a celebratory leap. Then gravity, of both the literal and the situation kind, as well as the sapping humidity brought him to his knees. The helmet was yanked off and from within it emerged a smile.
It was cricketing bedlam, a situation so wild that none of it quite made any sense until Kohli was standing once more and now bowing in reverence to the hero he'd just left behind, who was part of the applause din. Sachin Tendulkar was smiling. They were all smiling.
In a career of glittering achievements, this felt like a particularly seminal moment for the 35-year-old millennial, who was two months shy of his 10th birthday when the record for the most ODI centuries last changed hands, from Desmond Haynes to Tendulkar in the September of 1998 in Bulawayo. It was a very different time. ODI cricket was at its peak. Cricket Trump cards were in vogue. And if you ever held the Tendulkar card printed any time post 1998, you didn't have to call out 'hundreds'. Simply flipping the card in your hand with a smug expression was a socially accepted convention. Your opponents implicitly and grudgingly handed you the top card from their pile. No questions asked. It is likely that Kohli himself indulged in this tick. It is that record he now owns.