Riding on a superb batting effort by Virat Kohli and some clinical bowling delivery by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India outplayed Afghanistan by 101 runs in the Super 4 encounter at Asia Cup in Dubai on Thursday, August 8. Team India’s star batter Virat Kohli ended the much awaited drought of completing an international century, reaching the three-figure mark against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup Super 4 match in Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Kohli reached his hundred mark in 53 balls, continuing on his impressive run of form since his return to Team India in the continental tournament held this month. Before the century knock, Kohli had completed two fifties in the Asia Cup as well (59* against Hong Kong and 60 against Pakistan) earlier.
Kohli’s last century in international cricket came in November 2019 against Bangladesh and was out of form from then; last month, the batter had endured a thousand days without a ton. The century against Afghanistan was Kohli’s 71st international hundred, as he equalled Australia’s batting player great Ricky Ponting. Only Sachin Tendulkar (100 international centuries) stays ahead of the former India captain, Virat now.
In the game against Afghanistan, Kohli opened the innings alongside stand-in skipper KL Rahul as Rohit Sharma was given rest for the game that day. This was the first time Kohli came as an opener in T20Is since March 2021, when he had forged a brilliant 94-run stand with Rohit Sharma; it was an even better outing for the former Indian captain this time, as he stood a 119-run stand with Rahul, who also scored a much-needed half-century (62 off 40 deliveries) in the match. Kohli eventually remained unbeaten on 122 runs off 61 deliveries, smashing 12 fours and 6 sixes on the way to his century knock. A huge burden lifted off Kohli’s shoulders as he finally ended his wait for his 71st international century and proved that he had not lost his playing form and the phase from 2019 was a temporary one.
India made a dynamic score of 212/2. In response to the Indian score, Afghanistan got off to a dreadful start with Bhuvneshwar dismantling the Afghan batters from the very beginning. Bhuvneshwar took five wickets in his four overs. Arshdeep Singh, R Ashwin and Deepak Hooda scalped one wicket each. The opening pair provided India with an explosive start after being invited to bat first in the match. Rahul led the unit as India made three changes in the player line-up. Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal were rested and Deepak Chahar, Dinesh Karthik, and Axar Patel came in as replacement for this trio.
Playing 11 from team India were-
KL Rahul(c), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant(w), Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh.
Playing 11 from team Afghanistan were-
Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi(c), Karim Janat, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fareed Ahmad Malik and Fazalhaq Farooqi.