India beat South Africa by 243 runs at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens on Sunday, November 5th, 2023, with which the men in blue continue their perfect win streak in the ongoing edition of the 50-over World Cup.
Virat Kohli scored his 49th ODI century on Sunday to match Sachin Tendulkar’s world record. And there was perhaps no better day to achieve this feat than his 35th birthday. Eden Gardens also happens to be the ground on which Kohli had scored his first ODI century 14 years ago.
India won the toss and decided to bat first. The team put 326 on the scoreboard – with Kohli’s unbeaten 101 and Shreyas Iyer’s 77 run knock-off 87 deliveries – losing five wickets in 50 overs.
Riding on Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 101 India put on 326 for 5 against South Africa at the Eden Gardens, celebrating his 35th birthday in the most befitting manner. Kohli reached the landmark when he scored a single off Kagiso Rabada in the 49th over of the Indian innings in front of a packed Eden Gardens crowd that kept chanting his name. Prior to the match against South Africa, Kohli narrowly missed out on his 49th ODI century during India’s match against Sri Lanka on Thursday at the Wankhede Stadium.
Kohli put on on brilliant 134-run stand for the third wicket with Shreyas Iyer (77), who played a sublime knock. Earlier, it was captain Rohit Sharma, whose 24-ball 40 gave India a flying start. Suryakumar Yadav (22 off 14 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja’s unbeaten 29 off 15 balls gave India a perfect flourish.
“Every opportunity to play for India is a big one for me, and to be able to do this (49th ODI hundred) on my birthday in front of such a huge crowd at the Eden Gardens is the stuff of dreams. It’s something that you wish for as a child. So I am very grateful to God that I am blessed with these kinds of moments. So much love from the fans as well. Just continue to try and help the team in any way possible,” Kohli said in the mid-innings interval.
The entire South African team was bowled out for 83 runs in less than 28 overs, with which India marked its eighth consecutive victory in the tournament. Ravindra Jadeja took five wickets in nine overs.
The win assumes more significance because South Africa is not just any team, but the No.2 in the ongoing tournament standings, and the only team other than India to have reserved a slot in the semi-finals. So, it was a big test for India.
Also, it was the heaviest-ever World Cup defeat, in terms of margin, for South Africa.
India are currently in terrific form, having won all seven matches they have played so far. Rohit Sharma and his team defeated Sri Lanka by 302 runs in their previous match, the second-biggest win in the tournament history. They have two batters with over 400 runs (Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma), while Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav are doing a terrific job with the ball.