Kohli ends century drought as India thrash Afghanistan in Asia Cup

India's Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) during the Asia Cup Twenty20 international cricket Super Four match between Afghanistan and India at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on September 8, 2022. (Photo by SURJEET YADAV / AFP)

DUBAI: India’s veteran batter Virat Kohli broke the shackles as he brought up his much-awaited 71st century in the Asia Cup Super Four dead rubber against Afghanistan before right-arm pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar decimated the Afghan batting line-up and powered the side to a massive 101-run victory.

Set to chase a mammoth 213, Afghanistan’s batting line-up failed completely and could only score 111/8 in the allotted 20 overs despite Ibrahim Zadran top-scoring with a gritty knock of 64 runs off 59 balls including four boundaries and two sixes.

Besides Ibrahim, only Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman get into the double figures in the run chase while the rest of the batters failed in their last match of Asia Cup 2022.

Bhuvneshwar was the pick of the bowlers for India as he bagged five wickets for a mere four runs, while Arshdeep Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Deepak Hooda made one scalp each.

At the toss, Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi invited India to bat first after the coin flipped in his favour.

His decision, however, did not seem to go well for his side as India’s new opening pair of Kohli and interim captain KL Rahul targeted the Afghan bowlers and scored at a blistering rate.

The duo appeared solid and were looking firm as both have amassed half-centuries before Fareed Ahmad struck in the 13th over to hand Afghanistan a much-needed breakthrough as he removed Rahul for 62.

The right-handed batter faced 41 deliveries and smashed eight boundaries including two sixes.

India’s top batter Suryakumar Yadav had a forgetful outing with the bat as he could score six runs off two deliveries and caused India to slip to 125/2 in 13 overs.

Following the slump, Kohli shifted the momentum into India’s favour as he joined hands with wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant and put on an unbeaten 87-run partnership for the third wicket.

The partnership remained majorly dominated by the right-handed batter as Pant could contribute 20.

Kohli, on the other hand, scored for India with a quickfire 122 off 61 deliveries, laced with 12 boundaries and six sixes.

The right-handed batter ended his century drought with his first in the shortest format of the game and 71st overall.

Fareed remained the pick of the bowlers for Afghanistan as he bagged the only two wickets, while the rest of the bowlers went wicketless.