Asia Cup: Kohli and Rahul tons, Kuldeep's 5-25 sets up India's massive 228-run win over Pakistan


Asia Cup: Kohli and Rahul tons, Kuldeeps 5-25 sets up Indias massive 228-run win over Pakistan
Fantastic centuries by Virat Kohli and K.L Rahul, followed by a terrific five-wicket haul by Kuldeep Yadav helped set up India’s massive 228-run win over Pakistan in a one-sided Super-Four match of the Asia Cup at the R Premadasa Stadium. On the reserve day starting at 4:40 pm after a rain delay, India reached a mammoth 356/2, their highest score against Pakistan in ODIs. 
It was down to Rahul making a stunning comeback to international cricket with a classy 111 not out off 106 balls while Kohli combined astute running between the wickets with dazzling strokeplay to hit his fourth ODI century in as many innings at the venue through an unbeaten 122 off just 94 balls. Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma pulverize the Pakistan bowling attack by hitting quick fifties in a 121-run opening stand, then Rahul and Kohli sharing a huge 233-run stand for the third wicket, also the highest partnership by any Indian pair in its participation history in the Asia Cup.
In reply, Pakistan were nowhere in the chase as only three of their batters managed to go past 20. India’s fast bowlers were impeccable in their line and length while putting out a surreal exhibition of seam and swing bowling. Kuldeep then came to bamboozle the batters by turning the ball both ways to pick 5/25, his second fifer in ODIs, as Pakistan were restricted to just 128, with 228 runs being the highest margin of win for India against Pakistan in terms of runs.
Jasprit Bumrah, bowling in an ODI for the first time since July 2022, extracted movement in every way under lights. He got the ball to seam and swing away from the left-handed batters Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman. Bumrah had impeccable control on his length to keep the batters stranded at the crease and in check. He took out Imam by changing his angle to around the wicket and pitched the ball a little fuller to get the left-handed batter nick to second slip.
Captain Babar Azam took 11 balls to get off the mark, by punching Bumrah square through the wicket for four, followed by glancing Mohammed Siraj through the mid-wicket for another boundary. His stay in the middle ended on 10 via Hardik Pandya, who got a big nip-backer on length to hit the top of the stumps through the gate before rain arrived to stop the proceedings. An hour and 10 minutes later, Shardul Thakur struck in the first over after resumption as Mohammad Rizwan edged a length delivery behind to KL Rahul.
Fakhar Zaman saw his stumps being left in a mess while trying to slog-sweep off Kuldeep Yadav. Agha Salman looked a little comfortable at the crease, despite top edging a sweep off Ravindra Jadeja to his face, causing a big cut under the right eye, but was then trapped LBW while trying to sweep off Kuldeep. The left-arm wrist-spinner got Shadab Khan to hole out to long-on and took a sharp return catch off his bowling to send back Iftikhar Ahmed for 23. With Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah unable to bat due to their niggles, Kuldeep finished off the match by clinching his five-wicket haul by castling Faheem Ashraf with a googly. India 356/2 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 122 not out, KL Rahul 111 not out, Rohit Sharma 56, Shubman Gill 58; Shadab Khan 1-71, Shaheen Shah Afridi 1-79) beat Pakistan 128 all out in 32 overs (Fakhar Zaman 27; Kuldeep Yadav 5-25, Shardul Thakur 1-16) by 228 runs
Source: IANS