After Virat and Rahul’s sparkling tons, Kuldeep seals it for India against Pak

Colombo, (UNI) After sparkling centuries by Virat Kohli and comeback man KL Rahul, leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s five-fer sealed a massive 228 runs victory against Pakistan in Asia Cup’s third Super 4 match at R Premadasa Stadium here on Monday.

This was a perfect start for India in the Sper 4 stage as they royally hammered their arch rivals lock, stock and barrel. Their openers scored quick fifties, and then the No.3 and 4 fired up cracking centuries.

They made mince-meat of the much famed Pakistan pacers as Rahul made a perfect comeback from an injury and Virat notching up his 47th ODI hundred and reaching 13,000 ODI runs.

In the second innings, Indian seamers Jasprit Bumrah (1/18) and Mohammad Siraj were on the dot, troubling the edgy Pakistani openers with swing and snorters. But the ball of the match was Hardik Pandya’s in-cutter that zipped into Babar Azam’s timbers after the Pakistan captain had made 10.

Then medium pacer Shardul Thakur ((1/16) dismissed Mohammad Rizwan with a beauty for 2. Next Kuldeep took charge, producing a lot of turn from a pitch that seemed to help the seamers, and ended up with figures of 5/25.

For Pakistan, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah did not come out to bat, as their innings folded for a paltry 128 in 32 overs, after a painful wait of 32 hours since the first ball was bowled on Sunday.

For all the hype around the clash and the special inclusion of the reserve day, the game proved to be a one-sided affair.

Virat was voted player of the match.

After a long delay and a reserve day, the Pakistanis could have been cursing the rain gods and then their fate as they lost Haris Rauf due to an injury during the day.

Taking advantage of it, Rahul and Virat took calculated risks in the beginning, but attacked the part-timers later with ferocity.

It was a magnificent comeback for Rahul who flaunted his class picking up the balls early while executing unblemished flicks and drives to notch up his 6th ODI ton.

Virat slammed 122 from 94 balls in an innings studded with 9 boundaries and 3 sixes. Batting on 98, he became the fastest batsman to reach 13,000 ODI runs, breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record.

Tendulkar had achieved the milestone in 321 innings, and Virat did in just 277 innings. This also was the 4th consecutive century for Virat at this venue.

Rahul remained unbeaten on 111 from 106 balls with 12 boundaries and 2 sixes.

India had a great start on Sunday after Babar sent them to bat in the rain-affected match. Rohit (56) and Shubman Gill (58) came out with a positive intention against the new ball.

Rohit was nervous against the pacers, but made up by taking on Shadab for a 19-run over. Both openers got fifties before they were dismissed in successive overs. Then came the rain, a long delay and then a reserve day. UNI BDN SSP

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