Cricket World Cup 2023: Virat Kohli is always ready to go the extra mile for his team

On his 35th birthday, he was running hard and converting singles into doubles before reaching the landmark with another single

By Anis Sajan

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India's Virat Kohli runs between the wickets during his record-equalling hundred. — AFP
India's Virat Kohli runs between the wickets during his record-equalling hundred. — AFP

Published: Sun 5 Nov 2023, 8:42 PM

The stage was set for the clash of the table toppers between India and South Africa at Eden Gardens and it was lit up by the birthday boy Virat Kohli who scored one of his finest hundreds.

On a difficult wicket to bat, Kohli scored his 49th hundred to equal his idol Sachin Tendulkar's all-time ODI record.

It was not the most fluent of Kohli innings, but it was a priceless knock against the potent South African bowling attack.

His measured approach allowed the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja and Suryakumar Yadav to pounce on the Proteas bowlers when India were looking for acceleration.

The South Africans did fight back with the ball after the flying start from skipper Rohit Sharma who had won the toss and opted to bat.

The wicket was dry and there was enough purchase for Keshav Maharaj who troubled both Kohli and Iyer consistently after India lost the two openers.

But Kohli brought his wealth of experience into play, patiently waiting for the bad balls. And Iyer, on the other end, came into his own, using his feet brilliantly against the spinners.

The Mumbai batsman deserves a lot of credit for the way he batted on that surface, which even the in-form KL Rahul found difficult to cope with.

But Kohli remained solid, allowing the likes of Suryakumar and Jadeja to provide the final flourish as India finished with a formidable total.

What makes Kohli's innings special is his desire to stay until the end and make his start count.

His fitness is what separates him from the rest.

On his 35th birthday, he was running hard and converting singles into doubles before reaching the landmark with another single.

This is what the huge crowd at Eden Gardens had come to see.

Kohli, the chase master, just played the perfect knock to help India set up a huge total on a track where the ball was gripping and turning.

This modern master is always ready to go the extra mile for his team.

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