Virat Kohli smashed his first hundred since November 2019, scoring his much anticipated 71st ton, during India’s last Super Four clash against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. Kohli finished unbeaten on 122 off just 61 balls, which is the highest individual T20I score for India. He surpassed Rohit Sharma’s 118 against Sri Lanka in Indore in 2017.
A 119-run stand between KL Rahul (62) and Kohli (122) helped Team India post a massive 212/2 against Afghanistan.
Speaking after the first innings, Kohli dedicated his 71st international century to his family — wife Anushka Sharma and their daughter Vamika. The star batter kissed his wedding ring after reaching his century.
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“Last two and a half years have taught me a lot. I am going to turn 34 in a month. So those angry celebrations are a thing of the past. Actually, I was shocked. This is the last format I thought. It was an accumulation of a lot of things. The team has been open and helpful. I know there was a lot of stuff going outside,” said Virat Kohli.
“And I kissed my ring. You see me standing here because one person has put things in perspective for me. That’s Anushka. This hundred is for her and for our little daughter Vamika as well. When you have someone next to you having conversations putting things in perspective, like Anushka has been…when I came back I was not desperate. Six weeks off I was refreshed. I realised how tired I was. Competitiveness doesn’t allow it, but this break allowed me enjoy the game again,” the 34-year-old further said.
The former Indian captain, who had been under increasing pressure over the last few months for his lean patch, has also now equalled Australian Ricky Ponting’s mark of 71 international centuries. Only Sachin Tendulkar (100) has scored more hundreds than Kohli and Ponting.
In the match, Kohli looked in sublime touch and reached the triple-figure mark with six off Fareed Ahmad in the 19th over. He completed his 71st ton with an authoritative pull shot against Fareed Ahmad’s short ball as it sailed over the deep mid-wicket boundary.
With the scintilating knock, Kohli completed 3,500 runs in T20I cricket, becoming the second cricketer in the format to do so. Virat now has 3,584 runs at an average of 51.94. He has one century and 32 half-centuries in the format. His best score now is 122*. Rohit Sharma is the first T20I player to hit 3,500 runs in the format.