Virat Kohli has hailed his record-breaking 50th one day international (ODI) hundred as the “stuff of dreams” after powering India to a mammoth total in their Cricket World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.
The 35-year-old surpassed Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of 49 ODI tons to take the record outright.
Kohli’s third hundred of the tournament helped India to a score of 397/4 off of their 50 overs in Mumbai.
The record-setting knock came exactly ten years after Tendulkar’s international farewell at the Wankhede Stadium, with the “Little Master” in attendance to watch his mark be surpassed.
And Kohli paid tribute to “his hero” after making history.
“The great man [Sachin Tendulkar] just congratulated me,” Kohli said to the host broadcaster after making 117 from 113 balls. “All this feels like a dream to me, honestly. It’s too good to be true.
“It feels surreal. I never thought I would be here, ever, in my career. “t’s the stuff of dreams. Sachin was in the stands. It’s very difficult for me to explain this, but if I could paint the perfect picture, it would be this. My hero is sitting there. It was amazing.”
Kohli drew level with Tendulkar in the group stage game against South Africa at Eden Gardens last week.
His fabulous hundred in Mumbai was his first in the knockout rounds of a World Cup, and continued an incredible campaign.
The 35-year-old has now scored 711 runs at an average of more than 100, again anchoring the innings to allow India to put up a big total.
Shreyas Iyer also recorded a hundred while there were also significant contributions from all of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and KL Rahul as India showcased their batting might.
“In a big game today, I had to play the role I’ve played throughout the tournament so the guys around me could go and express themselves,” Kohli explained. “I’m just glad that everything came together so nicely and we put a great total on the board.
“For me, the most important thing for me is to make sure the team wins. Whatever it takes to do that I am prepared to, whether it is hitting singles or doubles, hitting boundaries, whatever.
“I’ve been given a role this tournament and I am trying to play that to the best of my abilities, trying to take the innings deep and then the others can play around me. I think everybody played their roles to perfection. It was the perfect batting performance.”
The winner of the first semi-final will face either Australia or South Africa in the World Cup final on Sunday 19 November.
Kohi and Tendulkar were part of the last India side to win the tournament in 2011.