Virat Kohli ended his long wait for an international century as the former India captain peeled off his 71st international century during the Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 match against Afghanistan at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday. Kohli, who had gone over 1000 days without nothing up a century – his last hundred coming in November of 2019 – slammed his maiden T20I century to fire India to a strong total of 212/2 off 20 overs. It was a score that proved more than enough as India steamrolled Afghanistan by 101 runs with Bhuvneshwar Kumar picking up a stunning five-wicket-haul (5/4 in four overs) to restrict the opposition to 111/8.
Kohli’s knock was a throwback to his dominant self as he plundered the Afghanistan attack to ever corner of the ground. Keep in mind that this is the same Afghanistan attack that rolled over Sri Lanka in the first game and almost upset Pakistan last night in a thrilling chase, and Kohli, opening the batting with Rohit Sharma rested, decided to feast on it en route to a hundred off 53 balls. After reaching his fifty off 32 balls, Kohli took just 19 more to rack up the next 50 runs in an innings exuding dominance from the word go.
Kohli reached his century by bludgeoning Fareed Ahmed over cow corner and his reaction that followed summed up how much it meant to him. After acknowledging the crowd by raising his bat and taking off his helmet, Kohli smiled and laughed, before hugging his batting partner Rishabh Pant. But once the euphoria settled in, Kohli reached inside his shirt, took out his wedding ring which he wears across his neck and kissed it.
Kohli remained unbeaten on 122, and with it, he became the leading run-scorer of the Asia Cup 2022, taking his tally to 276 runs from 5 matches at an average of 92. Kohli, who made his return to top-flight cricket after taking a six-week-long break, began the tournament with a knock of 35 against Pakistan, and followed it up with back-to-back half-centuries against Hong Kong and Pakistan in the Super 4.
In the must-win game against Sri Lanka though, Kohli was dismissed for a four-ball duck as India suffered a defeat. Afghanistan’s defeat against Pakistan knocked India out of the race for the final but ahead of the home series against Australia and South Africa, and most importantly the T20 World Cup, Kohli’s hundred and his return to form is just the tonic India needed.
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