After unbeaten centuries by Virat Kohli and Lokesh Rahul and an unbroken double century partnership between the two, with the magic of Kuldeep Yadav’s spin, India defeated Pakistan by 228 runs on Monday in the rain-affected Super Four match of the Asia Cup. This is India’s biggest win in terms of runs against Pakistan.
Chasing India’s big target of 357 runs, Pakistan team collapsed for 128 runs in 32 overs in front of the powerful balls of left-arm spinner Kuldeep (five wickets for 25 runs). For India, during his 47th century, Kohli scored unbeaten 122 runs in 94 balls with the help of nine fours and three sixes.
Virat Kohli, playing his first competitive match after more than four months, also made an unbroken partnership of 233 runs for the third wicket with Rahul (111 not out, 106 balls, 12 fours, two sixes), which took India to 356 runs for two wickets. Equaled his highest score against Pakistan by making. Thanks to Kohli and Rahul, India was successful in adding 105 runs in the last 10 overs.
This is Kohli’s fourth consecutive century at the KR Premadasa Stadium here. Due to continuous rain on Sunday, this match had to be stopped midway and the match was played further on the reserve day on Monday. Pakistan had a bad start while chasing the target. The team lost the wicket of Imam Ul Haq in the fifth over itself, who was caught by Shubman Gill off the ball of Jasprit Bumrah.
Captain Babar Azam also got bowled by Hardik Pandya in the 11th over after playing a slow innings of 10 runs in 24 balls. After this the game was stopped for more than an hour due to rain. When the game resumed, Shardul Thakur got Mohammad Rizwan (02) caught by wicketkeeper Rahul on the fourth ball, taking Pakistan’s score to 47 runs for three wickets.
Openers Fakhar Zaman and Agha Salman then took the innings forward. Fakhar was lucky on the score of 21 runs when Rohit dropped his catch in the slip off the ball of left-arm spinner Kuldeep. However, Fakhar could not take advantage of this gift of life and after scoring 27 runs, he was bowled by Kuldeep in the next over. Kuldeep trapped Salman (23) LBW and Pakistan’s score was 96 runs for five wickets.
Pakistan’s century of runs was completed in the 25th over. Kuldeep dismissed Shadab Khan (06) and Iftikhar (23) in consecutive overs. In Kuldeep’s next over, Shaheen Shah Afridi (07 not out) hit the first six of the innings but this spinner ensured India’s victory by bowling Faheem Ashraf (04) after three balls. Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah did not come out to bat due to injuries.
Earlier yesterday, India had scored 147 runs for two wickets in 24.1 overs. Apart from scoring half-centuries, openers captain Rohit Sharma (56) and Shubman Gill (58) gave a great start to India by adding 121 runs for the first wicket. However, India lost both the wickets in consecutive overs. Rohit was caught by Faheem Ashraf on the ball of spinner Shadab Khan in the 17th over, while Shaheen was caught by Agha Salman at the gill cover on the ball of Shah Afridi.
Even on Monday, the match started late by one hour 40 minutes due to rain. When the match resumed, Rahul was ahead by 17 runs while Kohli was ahead by eight runs. Rahul looked in good form from the beginning. Kohli hit the first four of the day on Naseem Shah. After hitting sixes and fours on consecutive balls of Iftikhar Ahmed, Rahul hit two fours in the very next over of the spinner.
Rahul completed his half-century in 60 balls with one run off Faheem Ashraf. India’s double century of runs was completed in the 33rd over. Kohli preferred to rotate the strike and also taught a lesson to bad balls in the middle. He picked up the pace after a slow start and completed his half-century in 55 balls with one run off Shadab. Kohli hit his first six on Iftikhar in the 43rd over and then also hit a four in the same over.
Rahul took India’s score to 300 runs with two fours and one run off Faheem in the 45th over. Rahul, playing his first international match after a thigh injury and subsequent operation during the IPL, completed his century in 100 balls with two runs off Naseem. After completing 98 runs, Kohli became the second batsman from India and fifth in the world to complete 13 thousand runs in One Day International cricket.
Before Kohli, India’s great batsman Sachin Tendulkar (18426), Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara (14234), Australia’s Ricky Ponting (13704) and Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya (13430) had been players who scored 13000 runs. But the fastest 13 thousand runs is now in the name of Kohli. Kohli also completed his 47th century in 84 balls with one run off Shaheen’s ball. He hit two fours and a six on consecutive balls in the last over of Faheem’s innings.