The R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo has become a venue for centuries by Virat Kohli. Four consecutive centuries and additional records were broken when India and Pakistan met in the Super Four event of the Asia Cup 2023. To begin with, Virat Kohli has become the fastest Indian batter to reach the 13,000-run mark. It only took him 267 innings to reach the top of the list.
Moreover, the third-wicket partnership registered 233 runs. KL Rahul was making his comeback in a position where ICT has been looking for someone reliable. Ishan Kishan handled that post brilliantly in the encounter against the same opponent.
This is the fourth time the top four batters from the winning side have scored 50+ runs. The Indian skipper himself contributed 56 runs off 49 balls. He set the tone in the first over when the ball went for an air shot. From that point on, Shaheen Afridi was completely at a loss, unable to locate the length or even discuss the swing that Bumrah entrapped.
Sticking to India’s batting order for a while, Shubham Gill also made a comeback. His innings in the group stage opener were disappointing, with memes flourishing, showing his urge to play in Ahmedabad. The 67-run innings against Nepal gave him the required confidence.
Momentum continued till he missed the speed of Afridi’s throw, giving Agha a direct catch with no movement required at all.
A run between Kohli and Gill, King and Prince, was something that everyone wanted to see. That ended shortly, paving the way for KL Rahul, who didn’t hesitate to take his time in the beginning. Kohli and Rahul had shifted gears by the time the innings reached its conclusion. The last four balls played by Kohli were a masterclass. Ground boundaries and air shots took off as if demonstrating the play on a flat surface.
Babar Azam’s men looked uncomfortable from the beginning. Bumrah was getting every possible swing he wanted—in-swing and out-swing. Two wickets were needed to be taken in the powerplay. While only one strike could be handled, the strike rate was well under control. Hardik Pandya delivered a magical spell. He cramped the Pakistani skipper in the first three balls and then made him play with the length instead of the turn. He missed the direction to take his wicket.
Kuldeep Yadav (you beauty!) brought up 5-er in the ODI, taking the total number of wickets to 146 in 84 innings. He now has two five-wicket hauls, which is a positive sign ahead of the ICC ODI World Cup. Top cricket betting sites began shifting the side when rain showered from above.
The pitch could have behaved either way—for bowlers or for batters. Sharma simply made sure to play his game first until the 20th over and then till the very end.
Naseem Shah and Haris Rauff did not come to bat. They remained Absent Hurt. This is trouble for Azam, who is next scheduled to play with the hosts in their backyard. So is the Indian team. They will be contesting their next Super Four event in less than 24 hours after securing a win against their arch-rivals.
Keep your breath, for the fate of both sides’ chances of making the 2023 Asia Cup final rests on a contest against Sri Lanka.