Kohli went past Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 hundreds in 50-over internationals, and to do that in the presence of Tendulkar at his home ground made the occasion even bigger.
After getting to his record century, Kohli bowed down facing towards the stand where Tendulkar was sitting along with football legend David Beckham.
Kohli (117) and Shreyas Iyer (105) took over once Shubman Gill had to retire hurt with cramps and powered India to a huge total of 397/4.
“Pachasvi!” bowling legend Wasim Akram exclaimed speaking on Pakistan news channel ‘A Sports’.
“When Sachin finished with 49 tons, I thought ‘kaun karega yaar’ pachaas sau (will anyone ever score 50 hundreds?). You can still think about it as all-inclusive (cumulative centuries) across formats. But this guy (Kohli) came, saw and conquered,” added Akram.
New Zealand, despite a shaky start, made a serious effort to knock over the big target with a century from Daryl Mithcell (134) and a fine 69 by skipper Kane Williamson; but once Williamson was sent back by Mohammed Shami, the Indian pacer turned ruthless once again and finished with record-breaking figures of 7/57 to fashion India’s 70-run win and entry into the final.
“He (Kohli) is delivering almost every time when he comes to bat,” said former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who is part of the experts panel for ‘A Sports’.
“How to cash in on a set platform, how to take it to the end the way he is batting, strike rotation, stealing boundaries, well calculated and organised innings. There is a sense of surety and security when he is in the middle. The non-striker doesn’t have to worry, (scoring) 6-7 runs an over is not an issue, while other teams are thinikng of stopping 8-10 runs an over,” Misbah added.
After Kohli broke Tendulkar’s record, the master blaster recalled how a young Virat was pranked into touching his feet in the dressing room when he first came into the Indian team to play alongside his hero.
Akram said Tendulkar has inspired a generation of cricketers and Kohli is one of them.
“It’s so important to have role models in any walk of life for a young kid to follow. And he (Tendulkar) has been a prime example for any young, budding cricketer, not just in India, I am talking about worldwide. That’s the great Sachin.”
India will take on the winner of the second semifinal between Australia and South Africa in the title match on Sunday in Ahmedabad.