Virat Kohli scored his first international century since November 2019 with the first T20I ton for India and led Afghanistan to a 101-run defeat in the Asia Cup on Thursday. The star batsman remained unbeaten on 122 off 61 balls to power India 212-2 in Dubai after batting first in his last Super Four match after being knocked out of the tournament. Seam bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar then helped restrict Afghanistan to 111-8 in a best T20I match of five for four and Ibrahim Zadran played an unbeaten knock of 64.
But that day belonged to Kohli, who hit a four and a six off paceman Farid Ahmed and scored his first century in India in nearly three years – his last in a Test against Bangladesh.
His previous best in 103 T20Is since his debut in 2010 was 94 not out.
“The last two and a half years have taught me a lot. I am going to turn 34 in a month (less than two months – November 5),” Kohli told Star Sports after his innings.
He celebrated with a wave of the bat and a smile, saying: “So those angry celebrations are a thing of the past. Actually I was shocked. This is the last format I thought (of scoring a century). It was an accumulation. It was a lot of things.”
Kohli recently spoke about his mental struggles and how he took a month off before this Asia Cup to regain his intensity, which he “fake” during the form’s drought.
“The team has been open and helpful. I know a lot of stuff was going out there,” he said.
“Six weeks off I was refreshed. I realized how tired I was. Competition doesn’t allow that, but this break allowed me to enjoy the sport again.”
Called “King Kohli”, he put on an opening stand of 119 with KL Rahul, who scored 62, to lay the foundation for a huge total as Afghanistan’s bowlers struggled after losing to Pakistan for the second day in a row on the field. . Wednesday.
Kohli registered his third 50-plus score in the event, which serves as a tune-up for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November.
Rahul and Kohli hit boundaries in the first six overs and the Indian openers started cautiously before facing the opposition bowlers.
Kohli escaped a catch dropped by Ibrahim for 28 in the deep as the ball went past the fielder for a six and the star batsman completed his half-century in 32 balls.
Rahul completed his half-century by hitting two fours off captain Mohammad Nabi but fell in the very next over.
Farid broke the stand of the century and two balls later hit Suryakumar Yadav for a six.
The rest of the innings was from Kohli who hit the bowlers all over the field as he surpassed Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan as the tournament’s leading run-scorer with 276 from five matches.
The 33-year-old Kohli, who hit 12 fours and six sixes in his scintillating innings, has also scored 27 Test and 43 ODI hundreds in an illustrious career.
The Afghan team looked disheartened after losing by one wicket to Pakistan and being knocked out of the tournament.
Kumar lost four wickets for just nine runs in three overs before Ibrahim put his bat forward and allowed his team to bat in 20 overs.
Pakistan will play Sri Lanka on Friday with a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s title match.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Topics mentioned in this article