November 14, 2023
As India prepares to face New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final, it is worth reflecting on the remarkable similarities between Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar's paths to greatness. Kohli, who recently celebrated his 35th birthday with an unbeaten century, has drawn level with Tendulkar's record of 49 ODI hundreds. While Kohli acknowledges that he will never be as good as his idol, he continues to make his mark in this tournament.
In the current World Cup, Kohli has already matched Tendulkar's record of seven 50-plus scores in a single edition. Tendulkar achieved this feat in the 2003 version, scoring a total of 673 runs, which remains the most in any edition. Kohli currently sits on 594 runs with two potential innings to come.
Indian fans are hoping that Kohli will replicate Tendulkar's heroics in the 2011 World Cup. Tendulkar played a crucial innings of 85 in the semi-final against Pakistan, which proved to be vital in a low-scoring match. Kohli himself scored 85 in India's first match of the competition, and his performance has been consistent throughout the tournament.
While Kohli has been exceptional in the group stage, his performance in World Cup knockout games has been less favorable. He has never made double figures in a semi-final, scoring 9 in 2011, 1 in 2015, and 1 against New Zealand in 2019. In contrast, Tendulkar produced three half-centuries in three last-four encounters.
Despite the challenges, Kohli's laser focus and determination have been noted by AB de Villiers. Kohli will need to maintain this focus to survive New Zealand's attack, especially if India bats second under lights. Tendulkar's innings in the 2011 semi-final was also filled with challenges, as he was dropped four times, survived a close LBW call, and was almost stumped. Kohli will need to overcome similar obstacles to succeed.
In the 2011 World Cup, Tendulkar scored two exemplary centuries, just like Kohli has in this edition. However, the Kiwis have proven to be a tough opponent for India, putting them under pressure in the group stage. Kohli remained calm and took responsibility with a score of 95 in the match against New Zealand.
As Kohli walks out to bat in the semi-final, it is worth remembering that Tendulkar's final international match was played on the same ground a decade ago. While Tendulkar couldn't end his career with a century, he scored 74 runs, which would be a fitting tribute for his protege.
Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar may have played in different eras, but their paths to greatness have many similarities. Kohli's performance in this World Cup has been exceptional, and he has the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. As he takes on the challenge of the semi-final, fans and cricket enthusiasts alike will be eagerly watching to see if he can continue to follow in the footsteps of his idol.
Matteo "Teo" Bianchi, hailed as BettingRanker's "Data Dynamo", is the quintessential combination of a sports enthusiast and a numbers whiz. His meticulous research ensures bettors are always a step ahead, making him a cornerstone of the platform.