Virat Kohli notched up the much his much-awaited 71 career century in the unlikeliest of scenarios - opening the batting in a T20 game in front of not more than 1000 spectators who turned up to watch the inconsequential Asia Cup 2022 Super4 match between India and Afghanistan at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai on Thursday.
Virat Kohli smashed 122 off 62 balls with the help of 12 fours and six sixes and this marks the first time Kohli reaching a triple-figure mark since November 2019.
With this century he equals Ricky Ponting’s tally of 71 career centuries across format and finds himself only behind the great Sachin Tendulkar who has the most - 100 international centuries to his name in his illustrious career.
With Rohit Sharma being rested for India’s final game of the tournament, stand-in skipper K L Rahul (62 off 41) and Kohli shared an entertaining 119 off 76 balls for the opening wicket.
Kohli started toying with the field and bowlers towards the end of the innings, enough indication that he was back to his best. The knock from Rahul was his most confident one ever since he came back from injury.
The openers played brilliantly against the spinners, including Rashid Khan (0-33), an area they needed to address heading into the T20 World Cup.
It was vintage Kohli on display as he stepped out to the spinners, pierced the field perfectly and even played a rare sweep shot.
That sweep shot came in the sixth over bowled by Mujeeb Ur Rehman. The next ball he came down the track to hit a straight six. The former India captain also got lucky on his way to a memorable hundred as he was dropped in the deep off Mohammad Nabi in the eight over.
With India at 87 for no loss in 10 overs and Kohli on song, India looked set for a massive total.
It was raining boundaries in the last five overs as Kohli reached the elusive three figure mark with a crisp pull shot off pacer Fareed Ahmed. He took his helmet off and smiled before kissing his necklace as part his celebration.
He ended the innings in style by smashing two sixes and a four off Fazalhaq Farooqi to push India past 200