Virat Kohli maintained his impressive performance in the ongoing World Cup by scoring his second century of the tournament against South Africa on his 35th birthday at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.
This remarkable achievement marked his 49th ODI century, putting him on par with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s record. Additionally, this was Kohli’s 79th century overall and his fourth in the history of the 50-over showpiece event. He reached this milestone in 119 balls, hitting 10 fours along the way.
During this World Cup, the batsman affectionately known as the ‘chase master’ achieved a century by hitting a six on the last ball against Bangladesh, and narrowly missed out on two other occasions with scores of 95 against New Zealand and 88 against Sri Lanka.
In the match on Sunday, Rohit Sharma played aggressively and gave India a strong start, but South Africa was able to slow down the hosts by dismissing the captain and his opening partner Shubhman Gill.
Rohit’s impressive knock of 40 runs off 24 balls, along with a solid opening partnership of 62 runs with Shubman Gill (23), was overshadowed by the Proteas’ strong performance, leaving India struggling at 105 for two after 15 overs. Rohit’s aggressive batting allowed India to reach the 50-run mark in a mere 4.3 overs, courtesy of two sixes and six boundaries. Unfortunately, Rohit couldn’t capitalize on his promising start as he fell victim to pacer Kagiso Rabada, who managed to dismiss him. Despite hitting a powerful shot, Rohit failed to clear the fielder at mid-off, and Temba Bavuma made an exceptional catch, holding on to the fast-travelling ball.
Shortly after, Gill was left bewildered by an exceptional delivery from spinner Keshav Maharaj in the 11th over. The ball landed just outside the leg stump, turned slightly, and managed to beat the young batsman, ultimately dislodging the bails.
Gill momentarily experienced a sense of disbelief, unsure whether he had been stumped or clean-bowled. Nevertheless, the television referral confirmed that the ball had indeed grazed the bails.