Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar seals a win against Afghanistan

Virat Kohli
India defeated Afghanistan by a decisive margin of 101 runs in Dubai thanks to Virat Kohli’s first Twenty20 International (T20I) century, which was also his 71st overall in internationals. Before Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s 5 for 4 rocked the boat for Afghanistan and gave India their second highest victory (in runs) in T20 Internationals, Kohli’s innings drove India to 212/2 in 20 overs. This was accomplished thanks to Kohli’s performance.

A special century by Virat Kohli

Because this is his first international century after 84 matches spread out over a period of more than two and a half years. But that’s not the point; this hundred, which consisted of 53 balls, featured the highest number of runs he’s scored against spin in a Twenty20 International inning. It also made for the perfect statement-making hundred, which has eluded him for a while and was something that he needed to accomplish.

The 12 fours and 4 sixes that he smashed at the top of the order (Rohit Sharma was rested) perfectly conformed to India’s optimistic approach and now provide a welcome dilemma for India’s selectors before the World Cup: is he best suited as an opener – a job that he has publicly professed interest in?

An Indian inning

When Afghanistan decided to chase, this decision did not come as a surprise. K.L. Rahul and Virat Kohli’s partnership of 119 runs gave India such a whirlwind headstart that Afghanistan found it difficult to recover from. In the past few years, teams that batted second in the UAE have enjoyed a distinct advantage. However, India’s openers gave India such a head start that Afghanistan found it difficult to recover from.

During the PowerPlay, India had a score of 52/0, and it contained an over from Mujeeb Ur Rahman that had 15 runs scored in it; however, all of those runs were scored by Kohli’s bat.

Fareed Ahmad picked up KL Rahul (who was outwitted by a cross-seamer) and Suryakumar Yadav in the 12th over, which was the over in which the brakes were ultimately applied (dragged on).

However, Rishabh Pant, who came in at number 4, stitched together an undefeated 87-run stand for the third wicket and served as the ideal foil for Virat Kohli. As a direct consequence of this, India reached 78/0 in the final five overs of their innings.

A five-wicket haul by Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Because Bhuvneshwar took two wickets in his first over, Afghanistan’s pursuit was never able to get off the ground. Bhuvneshwar was responsible for the dismissal of left-handed Hazratullah Zazai (lbw) and right-handed Rahmanullah Gurbaz (bowled). The two-way swing was difficult for Afghanistan to control, and as a result, they allowed Bhuvneshwar two more runs in his next over. Karim Janat nicked behind, and then Najibullah Zadran was stranded in front of the wicket.

The score for Afghanistan was at 21/6 after Bhuvneshwar took his fifth wicket. Ibrahim Zadran, who stayed undefeated on 64 off 59 balls, was a big reason why they were able to get to 111/8 in the first place.  

What does the match mean to both sides?

The result does not alter anything in the context of the Asia Cup because both teams have been eliminated from the competition; however, the win, and the sheer force of it, puts India in good stead going into the T20 World Cup, especially on the back of a disappointing campaign here in the United Arab Emirates. Afghanistan, meantime, was eliminated from the competition without claiming a victory in the Super Four round despite having prior success in the tournament against both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

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