In a riveting semi-final showdown between India and New Zealand at the iconic Wankhede Stadium, Virat Kohli etched his name in the annals of cricket history by surpassing the legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s record for the most 50+ scores in a single edition of the Cricket World Cup.
A Record-Breaking Spectacle
The 35-year-old batting maestro notched up his 72nd ODI fifty, thereby securing his eighth fifty-plus score in the ongoing 2023 World Cup. This remarkable feat propelled Kohli ahead of the iconic Sachin Tendulkar, who had registered seven such scores during the 2003 edition of the tournament.
Virat Kohli, Rewriting the Record Books
The updated list of most 50+ scores in a World Cup edition now stands as follows:
- 8 – Virat Kohli (2023)
- 7 – Sachin Tendulkar (2003)
- 7 – Shakib Al Hasan (2019)
- 6 – Rohit Sharma (2019)
- 6 – David Warner (2019)
Pursuing Sachin Tendulkar’s Run Record
However, Kohli’s quest for records did not end there. In his pursuit of greatness, he aimed to chase down Sachin Tendulkar’s record for the most runs in a single World Cup edition. Kohli required 80 runs to surpass Tendulkar’s formidable tally of 673 runs in the 2003 World Cup.
Tendulkar took hold of the record for the most ODI hundreds in September 1998 when he surpassed Desmond Haynes’ then record of 17 hundreds. Kohli, on the other hand, has left an indelible mark in the cricketing world with a multitude of achievements.
Eyes on Multiple Milestones
But Kohli’s ambition didn’t stop at breaking records; he set his sights on multiple milestones. The Indian stalwart is on the brink of surpassing Sachin Tendulkar for the most ODI centuries, eyeing his 50th ODI ton. Additionally, he has a golden opportunity to overtake Ricky Ponting for the most International centuries in winning causes, currently tied at 55 tons with the former Australian skipper.
Kohli boasts an unparalleled record with 24 centuries in ODIs on Indian soil, standing as the highest by a player in a single country. Tendulkar trails behind him with 20 centuries in India, while Hashim Amla and Ricky Ponting follow at a distant third with 14 in South Africa and Australia, respectively.
Remarkably, Kohli has reached three figures in each of the ten countries where he has played ODIs, including a remarkable four consecutive innings in India between December 2017 and October 2018. This feat puts him in an elite league, with only Babar Azam surpassing it by hitting five centuries in a row in the UAE, and AB de Villiers also registering four in India in 2010-11.
Kohli’s prowess in run chases is evident with a staggering 27 centuries, surpassing Tendulkar by ten. Impressively, 23 of these centuries have come in successful run chases, where he maintains a remarkable average of 90.40. His recent century at the Wankhede semifinal marked his 23rd while batting first, surpassing Ponting’s 22, with only Tendulkar ahead of him with 32.
With a remarkable rate of 5.6 innings per century, Kohli stands head and shoulders above his peers. Among the 62 players with at least ten ODI centuries, the closest competitors are Babar Azam with 6.0 (19 centuries in 114 innings) and Hashim Amla with 6.6 (27 centuries in 128 innings).
Kohli’s dominance extends to specific opponents, with 10 centuries against Sri Lanka in just 51 innings, setting a record for the most centuries by a player against a team in ODIs. Additionally, he shares the second position in this list with nine centuries in 41 innings against West Indies, alongside Tendulkar’s nine against Australia. In the 2017-18 season, Kohli became the first player to hit four consecutive centuries against an opponent, a feat later matched by David Warner against Pakistan.
A noteworthy statistic is Kohli’s conversion rate from fifties to hundreds, standing at an impressive 41.32%. Out of the 121 times he reached fifty, he managed to convert 50 into a hundred 50 times. Among players with at least 25 50+ scores, Kohli leads with the best conversion rate, closely followed by Quinton de Kock (41.18%) and Hashim Amla (40.91%).
Kohli’s consistency is evident in the five calendar years (2012, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2023) in which he hit five centuries. This achievement puts him in a league of his own, with Rohit Sharma being the only other player to achieve this in at least three calendar years, accomplishing the feat in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Notably, 2023 marked the third time Kohli hit six centuries in a calendar year, making him the only player to do so thrice.
The venues also bear witness to Kohli’s excellence, with Mirpur and Colombo RPS being the two locations where he scored four centuries. His four centuries in successive matches in Colombo RPS between 2012 and 2013 is a feat only matched by Amla in Centurion Park.
Kohli’s ability to shine in series is evident with three instances of scoring three or more centuries in a series – in South Africa in 2018, against West Indies at home in 2018, and again in the World Cup 2023. This achievement sets him apart as the first player to achieve this in three separate series/tournaments, while others such as Mark Waugh, Chris Gayle, Kumar Sangakkara, and Quinton de Kock have done it twice each.
Among the numerous centuries, one of the fastest by Kohli was his century against Australia in Jaipur in 2013, taking a mere 52 balls – the fastest for India in the format. He continued his aggressive approach by hitting one off 61 balls later in the series in Nagpur, which sits third in the list for the fastest ODI hundreds for India, with Virender Sehwag’s 60-ball hundred against New Zealand in Hamilton in 2009 in the second position. Out of his 50 centuries, he reached the hundred in exactly 100 balls or fewer on 25 instances.
The longest gap between two centuries for Kohli in ODIs spans 25 innings, between his 43rd (114* vs WI, Port of Spain, 14 Aug 2019) and 44th (113 vs Ban, Chattogram, 10 Dec 2022). Despite this, he went through a century in both 2020 and 2021, marking the only years without a century after his debut year (2008) in the format.
In leadership roles, Kohli’s impact is immense, with 21 centuries while leading India in ODIs, achieved in just 91 innings. This places him just one century behind Ponting’s 22, but Kohli boasts a significantly higher average of 72.65 across these 91 innings, the highest for any skipper with at least 1000 runs in the format.
A unique collaboration is observed when Kohli and Rohit hit centuries together in four matches – the joint second-most for a pair in the format, alongside Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. The only pair with more centuries is De Villiers and Amla, who achieved this five times.
Despite his prolific scoring, Kohli experienced a notable gap between centuries, with the longest period spanning 25 innings. This hiatus occurred between his 43rd (114* vs WI, Port of Spain, 14 Aug 2019) and 44th (113 vs Ban, Chattogram, 10 Dec 2022) centuries. Remarkably, he maintained a consistent record by achieving a century in both 2020 and 2021, making them the only years without a century after his debut year in 2008.
One of Kohli’s memorable centuries was against New Zealand in Guwahati in November 2010, marking his fourth hundred in ODIs and the only one he scored at home in a day game. This century remains a testament to his adaptability and prowess on various cricketing stages.
Team India’s Batting Extravaganza
Yet, the records weren’t confined to individual brilliance; the Indian team collectively made history by posting the highest score in World Cup knockout games.
Pinnacle of Success
India’s monumental innings:
- 397/4: India vs New Zealand, Semi-Final, 2023
Dominating Record Books
This score surpassed New Zealand’s previous record of 393 runs against the West Indies in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final. Team India’s batting showcase now stands as the pinnacle in the history of Cricket World Cup knockout matches.
The Dynamic Opening Pair
The foundation for India’s mammoth total was laid by the dynamic opening pair of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Gill’s unfortunate injury led to the entrance of Shreyas Iyer, who, along with Kohli, contributed to the team’s commanding position.
Rohit’s Departure, Kohli’s Brilliance
After Rohit Sharma’s departure, Kohli and Iyer took charge, both reaching centuries. Some late fireworks from KL Rahul added the finishing touches, propelling India to their record-breaking total.
The Challenge for New Zealand
As the second innings unfolds, New Zealand faces a daunting task of chasing down 398 runs to halt India’s entry into the World Cup final. With India’s formidable bowling lineup, the Kiwi batters need a colossal effort to complete the chase.
In a game that promises records, milestones, and intense competition, cricket enthusiasts are in for a treat as the drama unfolds at Wankhede Stadium, where history is being made, one run at a time.