Port of Spain, Jul 12 : Virat Kohli's 42nd one-day international ton, in the second ODI against West Indies at Port of Spain, ended a streak of 11 innings without a century.
Kohli averaged 47 in those 11 innings, recording five consecutive half-centuries at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, but for a man renowned for his outstanding conversion rate, the little phase was certainly uncharacteristic. Unsurprisingly, Bhuvneshwar Kumar said that the Indian captain had been itching to get to the three-figure mark.
"Virat badly wanted to score a hundred," Bhuvneshwar said after India's win on Sunday.
"Not because he was out of form, but because he was getting out in the 70s and 80s.
He is always known for scoring big runs. The wicket wasn't easy [to bat on], we know how good he is as a player," he said.
Like Kohli, Bhuvneshwar himself played an important part in India's win on Sunday, snaring four wickets for 31 runs. Though West Indies largely stuttered in pursuit of the 280-run target, they did threaten to chase it down when Nicholas Pooran (42) and Evin Lewis (65) were at the crease, an ICC report said.
However, Lewis was dismissed by Kuldeep Yadav, before Pooran was sent back by Bhuvneshwar in the 35th over. The pacer followed that up with a sensational return catch to dismiss Roston Chase for 18.
"Pooran's wicket was the turning point," Bhuvneshwar said. "We know how good he is, he can change the game. And, of course, Roston Chase. Those two wickets were very crucial.
"If we could take one or two wickets, we were back in the game. When I came in to bowl, I was thinking about bowling economically and bowl more dot balls."
While Kohli's hundred was crucial for India, after they had lost their openers early, Shreyas Iyer's 68-ball 71 also played a massive role in taking them to a decent total.
The 24-year-old added 125 runs for the fourth wicket with his captain, and by the time he was dismissed, India had already touched the 250-run mark.
"It was a crucial partnership with Virat," Bhuvneshwar said. "He (Shreyas) played with maturity, taking singles and hitting boundaries as well. It was a mature innings."
Port of Spain was the site of several milestones on Sunday. While Kohli surpassed Sourav Ganguly to become India's second-highest run-scorer of all time in ODIs, Chris Gayle went past the great Brian Lara to become West Indies' top scorer in the format, in his 300th appearance.
"It's a great achievement," Bhuvneshwar said. "But we didn't want him to score runs in this match. But, of course, we are all happy for him. We know he is a very good person." (UNI)