Virat Kohli celebrates after his century during Cricket World Cup 2023© AFP
Former Indian cricket team batter Gautam Gambhir praised Virat Kohli for equalling Sachin Tendulkar‘s record of scoring 49 centuries in ODI cricket but also pointed out that his pacing could have spelt trouble for his side if the situation was a bit different. Kohli looked in tremendous form during the Cricket World Cup 2023 match against South Africa but slowed down a bit while approaching his century. On a tricky surface, Kohli found it tough to deal in boundaries, especially towards the end of his knock. Gambhir feels the slowed pace with which Virat scored runs at the end, could’ve hurt India in the game.
In an interaction with Sportskeeda, Gambhir said that India had enough runs for Kohli to slow down just ahead of the milestone but if the pitch at Eden Gardens was a bit challenging, the plan could have backfired.
“It was important for Kohli to bat deep and I feel it was just the last 5-6 overs where he slowed down a bit, maybe because he was nearing a century. But I believe there were already enough runs on the board. It could have hurt India if they were batting on a good pitch,” said Gambhir.
The former India opener was also impressed by Shreyas Iyer‘s batting as he slammed 87 off 97 balls to provide solid support to the in-form Kohli. Gambhir explained that Iyer’s innings allowed Kohli to play freely and the duo effectively negated the threat presented by South Africa spinner Keshav Maharaj.
“You got to give credit to Shreyas Iyer for the way he kept taking chances and took the pressure off Virat Kohli. Both batted really well in the middle as the best time to bat was with the new ball. They expertly negotiated Keshav Maharaj and giving him just one wicket when Jadeja picked five was brilliant,” he further said.
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