Virat Kohli recorded his first international hundred in nearly three years as India bowed out of the Asia Cup with a massive 101-run win over Afghanistan on Thursday.
Kohli, who made his last international century in November 2019 during a test match against Bangladesh, hit a blistering unbeaten 122 off just 61 balls and anchored India to 212-2.
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After the end of the first innings, as Kohli walked off the field, he was congratulated by his teammates for his knock. Kohli took a moment when approached by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, to tell him – “Abhi baki hai cricket (Cricket is still left in me)”.
Virat Kohli to Bhuvneshwar Kumar after yesterday’s century – “Abhi baki hai cricket (Cricket is still left in me)” – Virat Kohli is True Champion, True Fighter.pic.twitter.com/tyKu4qGmMK
— CricketMAN2 (@ImTanujSingh) September 9, 2022
In the second innings, Bhuvneshwar bowled one of the best spells in the shortest format of the game as he took 5/4 with his brilliant swing bowling upfront before Afghanistan reached 111-8 and gave India their second-biggest win ever in a T20 international.
“Today I think was just a build up of the last few games,” Kohli said. “I actually batted out of my skin to be honest, I surprised myself.”
Kohli grabbed an opportunity to open with stand-in captain KL Rahul after regular skipper Rohit Sharma was rested from India’s last game in the tournament.
Kohli raised his maiden T20 century in the penultimate over by hitting left-arm fast bowler Fareed Ahmad for a boundary and then raised his both arms with a broad smile by smashing a flat six over midwicket.
Kohli, who hit 12 fours and six sixes, dedicated his century to his wife Anushka Sharma, a Bollywood actress.
“This hundred is for her and for our little daughter Vamika as well,” he said. “Six weeks off (and) I was refreshed. I realized how tired I was. Competitiveness doesn’t allow it, but this break allowed me to enjoy the game again.”
Afghanistan, which won its group games against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, faltered in the Super 4 stage, losing all three of its games. India also couldn’t make it to the final after losing to Sunday’s finalists Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Ibrahim Zadran top-scored with a gritty unbeaten 64 but the rest of the Afghanistan batting lineup crumbled against Bhuvneshwar’s superb bowling with the new ball.
“Mentally we weren’t prepared,” conceded Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi, who won the toss and elected to field first. “We tried our best, but the way KL Rahul and Virat started, it was tough and we dropped some catches as well.”
(With inputs from Agencies)
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