Stats that make Kohli the greatest one-day batter

Virat Kohli now stands alone in one-day international cricket.

His century in victory over New Zealand in Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final was the India superstar’s 50th in the format, taking him one clear of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.

BBC Sport takes a look at the statistics that make Kohli the 50-over GOAT…

Virat v Sachin

Tendulkar scored his 49th century in his penultimate ODI, meaning he got there in his 451st innings.

Kohli equalled the Little Master’s haul in 277 knocks and has now gone past it in 279.

He has also done so at a better strike-rate – 93.62 runs per 100 balls compared to Tendulkar’s 86.23 – and, helped by batting in the middle order while Tendulkar was largely an ODI opener, with a better average.

Kohli averages 58.69 in the format – the best of any player to have played 50 matches or more.

“This all feels like a dream,” said Kohli after making 117 against New Zealand, with partner Anushka Sharma and Tendulkar watching in the stands at Wankhede Stadium.

“If I could paint the perfect picture, I would want this to be the picture.

“My life partner, the person I love the most, she is sitting there. My hero Sachin is sitting there. I was able to get the 50th in front of them and these fans in such a historic venue. It was amazing.”

Kohli, though, still regards Tendulkar as the greatest.

“There is reason we all looked up to him,” Kohli said last week. “I will never be as good as him. He is perfection when it comes to batting.”

He does still have some way to go to catch Tendulkar’s overall ODI run total of 18,426 but, having overtaken third-placed Ricky Ponting during his 50th ton, only Tendulkar and Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara (14,234) have more than Kohli’s 13,784.

Kohli the chasing phenomenon

Kohli’s prowess as one of the game’s great batters in a run chase is widely known. The statistics are truly phenomenal.

He averages 65.49 when pursuing a target in ODIs, seven runs more than any other player in history.

Ever the man for the big moment, 27 of Kohli’s 50 hundreds have come while chasing.

The next highest haul of centuries in the second innings is Tendulkar’s 17.

Batter Average Centuries
Virat Kohli (Ind) 65.49 27
AB de Villiers (SA) 56.81 7
Michael Bevan (Aus) 56.50 3
Michael Clarke (Aus) 53.92 3
Babar Azam (Pak) 53.14 7

All around the world

Kohli has scored centuries in every country he has played in.

Unsurprisingly, most (24) have come in India, while Bangladesh and its similar surfaces is his next most successful country, with six.

But he has also scored five on the bouncier tracks of Australia and three more in South Africa, where he averages 76.38 across 20 matches.

In fact, Kohli averages more than 50 in seven of the nine countries he has played in – Sri Lanka (48.95) and New Zealand (49.66) the only exceptions.

Tendulkar only averaged more than 50 in Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Ireland and Singapore. In India his average was 48.11.

An era of dominance

Kohli now has six centuries this year after a resurgent 12 months in the format.

He had only reached three figures once in the previous three years, albeit with fewer opportunities because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kohli was remarkably consistent throughout the 2010s, in particular during his peak from 2011 to 2019 when he scored more than 1,000 runs in seven of the nine years.

The 2010s can be categorically defined as the Kohli years. During that period he averaged 60, scored 42 hundreds and made 11,125 runs.

It is statistically the greatest return by any batter across a decade in ODI history.

Kohli centuries by year

How has Kohli done it?

As you would expect, Kohli has a strong record whatever the bowling.

He averages more than 45 against all types of bowlers in ODIs, but is particularly dominant against leg-spin, averaging 78 across his career.

Of all the bowlers he has faced, he averages the best (197) against former South Africa leggie Imran Tahir.

Kohli has also dominated the battle against Sri Lanka all-rounder Angelo Mathews (average of 187) and, perhaps more surprisingly, Australia’s fast bowling duo of Pat Cummins (166) and Mitchell Starc (139).

New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee was the player to end his innings on Wednesday – the seventh time he has dismissed Kohli, the most of any bowler.

Australia quick Josh Hazlewood has done so five times in eight matches, while Kohli averages only 8.66 against a certain James Anderson in ODI cricket, with the English swing-bowling great removing him three times for 26 runs across six matches early in the Indian’s career.

A record that could stand forever?

Most centuries among active players

And having taken the record from Tendulkar there is a real chance Kohli’s record will never be broken.

Of current players, India captain Rohit Sharma is next on the ODI hundred-making list, with 31, but is 18 months older than Kohli.

After that comes Australia’s David Warner (22) and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock (21) but both are about to retire from the format.

Perhaps Pakistan captain Babar Azam is best placed to challenge him. He has 19 centuries in 119 matches aged 29.

But with doubts remaining about the future of the format and the schedule becoming increasingly dominated by T20 cricket, Kohli could remain the 50-over king forever.