Virat Kohli ends three-year wait for 71st century in Asia Cup against Afghanistan

India batsman hits unbeaten 122 in Dubai for first ton in 20-over format

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Virat Kohli ended his near three-year long wait for an international century on Thursday as he cracked an unbeaten 122 against Afghanistan at the Asia Cup in Dubai.

The star India batsman last reached three figures in the 2019 Kolkata Test against Bangladesh. Since then, Kohli went more than 1,000 days without a century. On Thursday, the former captain finally reached his long-awaited 71st century as he hit 12 fours and six sixes during his 61-ball knock in what was a dead rubber.

Both India and Afghanistan had been knocked out of the race for a spot in Sunday's final following Pakistan's one-wicket win in Sharjah.

For India, captain Rohit Sharma decided to take rest, which allowed Kohli to open the innings with stand-in skipper KL Rahul.

Kohli was on 59 from 40 balls with five overs remaining and India on 134-2. He threw caution to the wind and went after the bowling. He reached his first T20 century with a four and a six off pace bowler Fareed Ahmad.

Kohli put on an opening stand of 119 with captain 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; the Afghans had suffered a heartbreaking loss to Pakistan on Wednesday as they went down by one wicket in Sharjah.

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.

Updated: September 08, 2022, 6:05 PM