Kohli ends drought with his maiden T20 international ton

Published September 8, 2022
India’s Virat Kohli (L) celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) as his teammate Rishabh Pant smiles 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. — AFP
India’s Virat Kohli (L) celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) as his teammate Rishabh Pant smiles 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. — AFP

Virat Kohli hit his first international century since November 2019 with his maiden T20 ton for India as his side piled up 212-2 against Afghanistan at the Asia Cup on Thursday.

The star batsman stood unbeaten on 122 off 61 deliveries with 12 fours and two sixes in Dubai after India were put in to bat in their last Super Four contest after being eliminated from the tournament.

Kohli, 33, hit a four and a six off pace bowler Fareed Ahmad to reach his first India ton in nearly three years — his last hundred coming in a Test against Bangladesh.

His previous best in 103 T20Is was 94 not out since his debut in 2010. He put on an opening stand of 119 with KL Rahul, who made 62, to lay the foundations of the mammoth total as the Afghan bowlers struggled on their second successive day on the field.

Kohli registered his third 50-plus score in the event, which serves as a tune-up to the T20 World Cup in October-November in Australia.

The Afghans suffered a heartbreaking loss to Pakistan on Wednesday as they went down by one wicket to also crash out of the tournament. Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in Sunday’s final.

The Indian openers started cautiously before Rahul and Kohli took on the opposition bowlers with a flurry of boundaries in the first six overs.

Kohli survived a dropped catch on 28 by Ibrahim Zadran in the deep as the ball popped out of the fielder’s hands for a six and the star batsman then raised his fifty in 32 balls.

Rahul reached his half-century with two straight boundaries off skipper Mohammad Nabi but fell in the next over.

Fareed broke the century stand and two balls later bowled Suryakumar Yadav for six.

The rest of the innings belonged to Kohli who hit the bowlers to all parts of the ground as he surpassed Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan as the tournament’s leading run-scorer with 276 in five matches.

Kohli has also hit 27 Test and 43 ODI centuries in a stellar career.

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