Virat Kohli said he was enjoying the “special feeling” of playing in a World Cup on home soil after his unbeaten century guided India to a seven-wicket win over Bangladesh in their fourth match of the ICC World Cup 2023.
Kohli’s 48th ODI century left him just one shy of equalling Indian great Sachin Tendulkar’s all-time record of 49 ODI hundreds.
Kohli made 103 not out with a six against spinner Nasum Ahmed, the shot also ending the match in a finish worthy of a Bollywood movie as India reached a target of 257 with more than eight overs to spare.
He faced 97 balls, including six fours and four sixes, with this century his third score in excess of fifty in four innings following contributions of 85 and 55 not out over Australia and Afghanistan.
“I’ve had a few fifties in World Cups and haven’t converted them so I just wanted to finish the game off this time around,” Kohli said afterwards.
“The pitch was pretty good, it allowed me to play my game and just hit the gaps.”
India have now won all four of their matches in the tournament to date.
“There is a great atmosphere in the changing room, we’re loving each other’s company, the spirit is there for everyone to see on the field,” said Kohli, who played alongside Tendulkar in the India team that defeated Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup 2011 final in Mumbai.
“We understand it’s a long tournament and you need to create some momentum for the guys to come out and play like this.
“It’s a special feeling playing at home in front of all these people and we just want to make the most of it.”
This was Virat Kohli’s first century in the World Cup since his 107 against Pakistan during the 2015 edition in Adelaide, with the 34-year-old posting seven fifties at the tournament prior to Thursday’s hundred.
Virat Kohli was helped on his way, however, by KL Rahul, who kept himself in check during a run-a-ball 34 not out.
Two balls before he reached his century, a Nasum delivery fired down the leg side was not signalled a wide — although any controversy was short-lived given the ensuing six.
“He (Kohli) was confused, he said ‘it’ll not look too nice not to take the single, it’s still a World Cup, and it’s still a big stage. I don’t want to look like I am just trying to get the milestone’,” Rahul said.
“But I said, I mean it is not won but still I think we’ll win quite easily, so if you can get to the milestone why not, you must try. And he did that in the end. I wasn’t going to run the singles anyway.”
Meanwhile, Shubman Gill, who made 53, Gill and put on 88 for the first wicket with Rohit before a stand of 44 with Kohli, said batting with the duo was an education.
“I think there’s a fine line between sometimes being too aggressive or going in the shell, especially playing big games.
“But I think the way they play, the way their mindset is playing those big games in the World Cup is what I try to learn.”