A long wait of 1019 days and Virat Kohli raised his bat to bring up his 71st international century at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday. The star India batter was unbeaten 122 runs in 61 balls against Afghanistan

A Rohit Sharma-less India was put to bat first in their last Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 game. The Men in Blue have already been knocked out of the tournament after back-to-back losses against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 

Also read: India vs Afghanistan: Twitter reacts to Virat Kohli’s Asia Cup century

Opening along with stand-in captain KL Rahul, Kohli straightaway went after the Afghan line-up. His first boundary came in the third over off pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi. The 33-year-old flicked a slower ball wide of short fine to beat deep square. He outside-edged the very next delivery. In the sixth over, Kohli smashed Mujeeb Ur Rahman for two boundaries and one maximum. 

After the powerplay, India were 52/0 and Kohli was batting at 25 in 16 balls. He was dropped by Ibrahim Zadran in the eighth over. He brought his fifty in 32 balls. 

Also read: Rohit Sharma overtakes Sachin Tendulkar in massive Asia Cup record

Kohli kept attacking Afghanistan spinners and stitched a 50-run stand with Rishabh Pant. In the 19th over, he smashed Fareed Ahmad for a pull-shot six over mid-wicket to bring up his maiden T20I hundred, in 53 balls. 

He took off his helmet and bowed down to celebrate the milestone. He looked relieved. This was Kohli’s first hundred since November 2019 and now he is only behind Sachin Tendulkar in the all-time list. 

Also read: What went wrong for India in Asia Cup 2022

He ended the innings in style by smashing two sixes and a four off Fazalhaq Farooqi to push India past 200.

“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,” said Kohli at the innings break. “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.” Kohli credited his actor wife Anushka Sharma for standing behind him like a rock during his turbulent times.