Virat Kohli registered his first international hundred in nearly three years as India bowed out of the Asia Cup with a massive 101-run win over Afghanistan. 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.
A long wait finally comes to an end.
𝐓𝐇𝐀𝐓’𝐒 𝐀 💯 𝐅𝐎𝐑 𝐊𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐊𝐎𝐇𝐋𝐈!
— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) September 8, 2022
At the international level, it was Kohli’s maiden T2OI century. Interestingly, all of Kohli’s six centuries have come while opening the innings — five for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and one for Team India.
However, India’s stand-in skipper KL Rahul, who leads the team out against Afghanistan in the absence of Rohit Sharma, feels that Virat can score centuries while batting at 3.
KL Rahul commends Virat Kohli on his sensational performance 🏏 against Afghanistan 🇦🇫 and talks about how important it is for India 🇮🇳 to adapt to different situations going forward. #INDvAFG #ACC #AsiaCup2022 #AsiaCup #GetReadyForEpic pic.twitter.com/l3eC6orho5
— AsianCricketCouncil (@ACCMedia1) September 8, 2022
“You all know what Virat Kohli is like. It does not mean that he will score 5 centuries only as an opener. He can score 6 or 7 centuries even if he bats at number 3. It is all about defined roles in the team and today he played his role beautifully,” Rahul told reporters at the press conference.
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. Rahul and Kohli provided India a rollicking start of 119 runs off 76 balls before Rahul holed out at long-on after making 62 off 41 balls. Kohli raised his maiden T20 century in the penultimate over by hitting left-arm fast bowler Ahmed for a boundary and then raised his both arms with a broad smile by smashing a flat six over midwicket.
“It is important for every player to get some time in the middle before the T20 World Cup. If you play well in 2-3 innings, you gain confidence, giving us the best chance to be our best self on the World Cup. So, really happy that he could play that way,” said Rahul.
It was a clinical display from India in their final game of the Super 4s but their pre-mature exit from another multi-team tournament has raised more questions ahead of the T20 World Cup starting next month.
KL Rahul feels that adaptability is going to be crucial for India going forward, and this is the key reason, why Pakistan and Sri Lanka have made it into the final.
“Teams playing in the final are those who bowled really well at the death. They adapted better to these conditions, their tactics and their plans and the way they assess the playing conditions were better than the other two teams that are not in the final,” he said.
“It is also the learning for us as a team to be able to have that skill to be able to have that mindset of being able to adapt what is in front of us. That’s the challenge going ahead,” he added.
India will play two home series against Australia and South Africa before the Two World Cup lined up in Down Under.