King Kohli’s 35th Birthday Special: The ODI Century 49 Challenge

On his 35th birthday, King Kohli found himself in a momentous position during a World Cup 2023 match against South Africa at Eden Gardens. The significance of this day, however, wasn’t lost on Kohli, who had become accustomed to the constant spotlight and high expectations that followed him throughout his cricketing career.

King kohli

A Date with Destiny: King Kohli Pursuit of Tendulkar’s Record”

Kohli’s journey has been one of continuous excellence, whether in IPL or international matches, net sessions or World Cup games. Sunday’s match against South Africa would be special not just because it marked his 35th birthday but because it held the potential to elevate him to a status he had long aspired for—a status shared with his childhood hero, Sachin Tendulkar.

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Close But Not Close Enough: The Wankhede Near-Miss

Just a few days earlier, Kohli had come within 12 runs of matching Tendulkar’s world record of 49 One Day International (ODI) centuries at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The dream of achieving this milestone at the venue often referred to as “God’s home” was tantalizingly close but ultimately elusive, as he fell short against Sri Lanka. A dozen runs may have separated him from divine status on that day, but destiny offered another chance.

King Kohli
-“Virat Kohli Historic Journey from Eden to World Cups”

The King Kohli Historic Journey: From Eden to World Cups

This time, destiny led him to the hallowed grounds of Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the place where it all began for Kohli 14 years ago. In December 2009, a young Kohli, still finding his footing in international cricket, played a sublime innings of 107 runs off 114 balls—a century that helped India chase down 316 with 7 wickets in hand. Despite Gautam Gambhir being awarded Player of the Match for his unbeaten 150, he acknowledged Kohli’s role and shared the award with him.

That century marked the beginning of Kohli’s incredible journey, which has seen him accumulate 48 ODI centuries to date. Returning to Eden Gardens, a place with fond memories for him, Kohli was on the cusp of securing his elusive 49th century.

King Kohli connection with Eden Gardens runs deep, despite being a Delhi boy. He had played significant cricket at this historic venue during his formative years and had scored centuries there, the last one being just six months before that fateful night against Sri Lanka during a P Sen Trophy final.

King kohli
Image Source- Cricbuzz

Fourteen years later, King Kohli returned to Eden Gardens as the undisputed King of cricket, in pursuit of his 49th hundred. The venue had planned grand gestures like distributing Kohli masks to spectators and a cake-cutting ceremony, but ICC regulations prevented such fanfare during a World Cup.

King Kohli, however, didn’t require such gestures; this World Cup was his stage, and he was the conductor of the orchestra. His influence was evident when the crowd changed its allegiance and chants in favor of Afghanistan pacer Naveen-ul-Haq, all due to Kohli’s actions.

Sunday’s match at the Eden Gardens promised much of the same. Kohli remained focused on his game, with no visible excitement about turning 35 or any nervousness regarding the world record. He was as professional, hardworking, and dedicated as ever, as stated by India’s head coach Rahul Dravid.

King Kohli
Image Source- Cricbuzz

King Kohli Multifaceted Talent: Bowling Returns?

Dravid also hinted at the possibility of Kohli bowling and contributing in that aspect. Kohli had always been a multi-faceted player, and his presence with the ball could provide a unique dimension to the game.

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Kohli’s record at Eden Gardens and against South Africa was impressive. In the 7 ODIs he played at Eden Gardens, he averaged 47 with three half-centuries and a century. Against South Africa, his numbers were even better, with an average of 61 in 30 ODIs, including 4 centuries and 8 fifties.

King Kohli’s 35th birthday marked a significant moment in his cricketing journey, as he aimed to equal Sachin Tendulkar’s world record of 49 ODI centuries. The stage was set at Eden Gardens, a place of personal significance, and the cricketing world awaited to witness Kohli’s quest for cricketing greatness.

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