Senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar blew the top-order away with his skillful bowling to record his career-best T20I figures as India beat Afghanistan by 101 runs in a dead-rubber match of Super Four stage in Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday.
Bhuvneshwar was right on the money from the word go, shaping one back in to trap Hazratullah Zazai lbw. Two balls later, he produced an absolute jaffa to shatter Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s stumps to send both openers back to pavilion in the opening over.
Swinging the ball both ways and relentlessly pitching in right areas, Bhuvneshwar was making Afghanistan batters dance to his tunes. Karim Janat gave a thick edge to first slip on an outswinger while Najibullah Zadran missed his flick and trapped lbw on an inswinger.
After Arshdeep Singh trapped Mohammad Nabi lbw, Bhuvneshwar completed his five-wicket haul by having Azmatullah Omarzai chipping a knuckle ball straight to cover. Rashid Khan hit a couple of boundaries before holing out in the deep off Deepak Hooda’s first ball.
Ibrahim Zadran struck some boundaries while Mujeeb Ur Rahman played the long handle against Ravichandran Ashwin. Though Mujeeb eventually was castled by Ashwin, Zadran got his fifty with sixes off Dinesh Karthik in the final over. But, by then, the result was a foregone conclusion.
Earlier, 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 Af-ghanistan 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 con-test 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 foun-dations 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.—Agencies