It is King Virat Kohli who is once again ruling the pitch as after a long wait of 1020 days, 84 international innings, the 33-year-old ended his century drought with a thunderous hundred on Thursday in the dead rubber against Afghanistan in Dubai.
This is Kohli’s maiden T20I ton, and, as by now everyone has already remembered, his 71st international century – equalling former Australian great Ricky Ponting’s tally of 71 international tons; only the master, Sachin Tendulkar, is ahead, far ahead with 100 hundreds.
Virat Kohli breaks Rohit Sharma’s record of fastest to 3500 T20I runs
Kohli remained unbeaten on 122* off 61 balls, clattering 12 fours and 6 sixes in his innings. With this, Kohli also crossed the 3500-run mark in T20 Internationals, becoming only the second batsman after Rohit Sharma to go past 3500 T20I runs.
However, Kohli has done it in record time: Kohli is the fastest to 3500 T20I runs, taking 96 innings while Rohit Sharma needed 125 innings to this landmark. Kohli’s average of 51 is also miles better than Rohit’s 32.
Further, with 6 hits over the fence, Kohli also completed 100 sixes in T20Is; among Indians only Rohit with 171 sixes is ahead.
Virat Kohli gets to open and slams maiden T20I ton
India skipper Rohit Sharma was rested for this dead rubber and this gave the way for Virat Kohli to bat at the opening position – arguably his best position in T20 cricket, from where he’s smashed 5 IPL centuries.
Alike many, even Kohli himself wasn’t expecting himself to get to a T20I century because it is his least suited format of the three. Nonetheless, Kohli and India will take this century in what were some damp last four days given India were eliminated from the race to the final following defeats to Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Kohli and KL Rahul were a bit conservative at the start, scoring 28 runs in the first 4 overs before Kohli broke his shackles against mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, smoking the spinner for two fours and a six. He continued to attack after the powerplay, slamming Nabi and Rashid to the fence before raising his half-century in the 11th over.
After the dismissals of KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav, Kohli stepped on the paddle from the 16th over. First, he took down Rashid with a maximum over cow corner, then thumped pacers Fareed Ahmad and Fazalhaq Farooqi for four fours between them.
He raced from 60 (41) to 90 (51). While fans thought Kohli should just slow down and be a bit careful while nearing his century, he had other plans: the first two balls of the 19th over, Kohli walloped Ahmad for 4 and 6 to bring up his hundred. He didn’t stop after that: in the 20th over, he cracked Farooqi 6, 6, 4!