‘It feels like a dream’ – Virat Kohli’s ‘surreal’ achievement in his own words
Kohli was speaking on the field of play during the innings break at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, fresh from becoming the first man in the history of the game to score 50 One Day International centuries, surpassing the great Sachin Tendulkar who was watching on from the stands.
Kohli’s 117 helped India to a huge total of 397/4, the highest first-innings total in a men’s Cricket World Cup semi-final, and also saw the player himself become the highest run-scorer in a single ICC CWC, again surpassing Tendulkar’s previous record.
And Kohli said that Tendulkar was one of the first to come and congratulate him following the first innings.
"The great man just congratulated to me, all this to me feels like a dream honestly. It’s too good to be true, it feels surreal,” Kohli said.
“I never thought I’d be here ever in my career. Just to help the team so many times.
“Again, in a big game today I had to play the role that I had to throughout the tournament so that the guys around me can go and express themselves. I’m just glad that everything came together so nicely and we put up a great total on the board as well.”
Kohli’s century came after a stunning opening stand between Rohit Sharma (47 from 29) and Shubman Gill (80* from 66), with the latter retiring hurt before returning late in the innings.
And with Kohli anchoring the innings at one end, Shreyas Iyer hit a stunning ton of his own at the other, scoring 105 from just 70 balls – a perfect example of India’s tactical plan, according to the man of the moment:
“As I said a lot of times before, for me the most important thing is to make my team win,” Kohli said. “And whatever it takes to do that I’m ready to do that, whether it’s running singles and doubles, hitting boundaries, whatever the team wants me to do.
“I’ve been given a role this tournament and I’m trying to play that to the best of my abilities, dig deep and bat long so that the others can sort of play around me. And I have that confidence where I can go into the late overs where I can dominate with the bat as well. So it’s about playing for the situation, playing for the team at all times.
“Anything over 330-340 you’re happy with. A lot of credit has to go to Shreyas, the way he came out and batted freely, Shubman at the top, Rohit at the top.
“I think everyone did their jobs to perfection, KL (Rahul) finishing with a flurry (with 39* from 20 balls). For us I think it was a perfect batting performance, but just one half of the game is done.”
Kohli saluted to the stands upon reaching three figures, gesturing in the direction of his wife Anushka Sharma, and then to Tendulkar.
And the 35-year-old says that to reach his milestone with those two watching on is the perfect moment.
“It's stuff of dreams, Anushka was sitting right there, Sachin was there in the stands. It’s very difficult for me to explain this, but if I could paint a perfect picture I would want this to be the picture.
“My life partner, the person I love the most, she’s sitting there. My hero, he’s sitting there. And I was able to get there in front of all of them and all these fans in Wankhede as well, such a historic venue. It was amazing.”