Virat Kohli, KL Rahul
India’s Virat Kohli (left) and his teammate KL Rahul during the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match against Australia at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on October 8, 2023. The two posted 165 runs for the fourth wicket take India to a six-wicket win. Image Credit: AFP

Virat Kohli brought up his 48th ODI century by hitting the winning six against Bangladesh, aided by KL Rahul at the other end, as the pair turned down easy singles Kohli could reach the landmark.

Kohli’s 48th ton in the format means he could yet overtake Sachin’s all-time record of 49 during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India.

The 34-year-old's hundred is his third at ICC Cricket World Cups and the 48th of his ODI career, but it looked all the world like he was going to full short of reaching triple figures when India required 19 runs to win with Kohli himself still 19 short of the landmark.

But, he was ably supported by Rahul at the other end and took the strike through to the close of the innings, and reached the milestone he wanted with a maximum that also sealed victory. After the match, which India won by seven wickets with 51 balls to spare, Rahul revealed that refraining from taking singles was his idea to enable Kohli to maintain strike and thereby enhance his prospects of reaching a century.

"He was confused, he said it will not look too nice, not to take the single, it's still a World Cup, and it's still a big stage. 'I don't want to look like I am just trying to get the milestone'," Rahul told Star Sports as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. "But I said, I mean it is not won but still I think we'll win quite easily, so if you can get to the milestone why not, you must try. And he did that in the end. I wasn't going to run the singles anyway," he said.

In the process of reaching his century, the Indian star became the fastest batter in the history of the men’s game to score 26,000 runs in international cricket, bettering the previous record, held by Sachin Tendulkar, but 33 innings.

Kohli’s unbeaten 103 against Bangladesh on Thursday means that only India captain Rohit Sharma has now scored more runs so far at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, with the pair sitting top two in the Most Runs table.

India's victory on Thursday has tied them in terms of points with New Zealand. Both teams remain unbeaten after playing four matches in the tournament. However, New Zealand currently leads the table due to their superior net run rate.