I actually batted out of my skin, to be honest, I surprised myself – Virat Kohli

Afghanistan, which won its group games against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, faltered in the Super 4 stage, losing all three of its games. India also couldn’t make it to the final after losing to Sunday’s finalists Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Ibrahim Zadran top-scored with a gritty unbeaten 64 but the rest of the Afghanistan batting lineup crumbled against Kumar’s superb bowling with the new ball.

Kohli grabbed an opportunity to open with stand-in captain KL Rahul after regular skipper Rohit Sharma was rested from India’s last game in the tournament.

Tuesday night’s one-wicket loss to Pakistan seemed to be still on the minds of Afghanistan’s players as Ibrahim dropped Kohli on the boundary edge before he scored his half-century off 32 balls.

“Mentally we weren’t prepared,” conceded Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi, who won the toss and elected to field first. “We tried our best, but the way KL Rahul and Virat started, it was tough and we dropped some catches as well.”

Rahul and Kohli provided India a rollicking start of 119 runs off 76 balls before Rahul holed out at long-on after making 62 off 41 balls.

But Kohli smacked both Afghanistan pace bowlers Fareed Ahmad (2-57) and Fazalhaq Farooqi (0-51) in the death overs in a stunning display of power-hitting that included some stunning flicks off his pads.

Kohli raised his maiden T20 century in the penultimate over by hitting left-arm fast bowler Ahmed for a boundary and then raised his both arms with a broad smile by smashing a flat six over midwicket.

Kohli, who hit 12 fours and six sixes, provided an ideal finish with two sixes and a four against Farooqi. Teammates applauded as he walked to the dressing room.

Kohli dedicated his century to his wife Anushka Sharma, a Bollywood actress.

“This hundred is for her and for our little daughter Vamika as well,” he said. “Six weeks off (and) I was refreshed. I realized how tired I was. Competitiveness doesn’t allow it, but this break allowed me to enjoy the game again.”

“Today I think was just a build-up of the last few games,” Kohli said. “I actually batted out of my skin, to be honest, I surprised myself.”


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