Kohli shines as India crush Pakistan


Mirpur: Virat
Kohli led the charge with a magnificent hundred in India's record chase of
330 runs to beat arch-rivals Pakistan by six wickets in the fifth ODI of
the Asia Cup at the Shere Bangla National Stadium here Sunday.

struck a career best 183, also the highest by an Indian against Pakistan,
as the World Champions achieved the target of 330 with 2.1 overs to spare.
Rohit Sharma (68) and Sachin Tendulkar (52) came up with valuable knocks
as India chase down its highest target in ODIs on a perfect batting strip.

bettered its 2002 Natwest final performance when they had chased down a
target of 326. But for the second time in three weeks India were left at
the mercy of Sri Lanka to determine their place in the final. A win for
Sri Lanka in Tuesday's last group stage match against Bangladesh will
ensure a India-Pakistan final.

Last month India were also left at
the mercy of Sri Lanka, who denied them a place in the finals of the
Commonwealth Bank tri-series in Australia.

The 23-year-old Kohli,
however, on his part led the team to another 300 plus run chase within a
span of three weeks. The Delhi boy hit an unbeaten 133 as India had
achieved a target of 321 making a mockery of Sri Lankan bowlers in 36.4
overs, February 28, in Hobart during the tri-series in Australia.

the arch-rivals here Sunday, Kohli, who struck his second century of the
tournament and 11th of his ODI career, was in his elements and was duly
adjudged as the Man of the Match.

Chasing a mammoth target, India
made the worst possible start losing opening batsman Gautam Gambhir
without any run on board in the second ball of the innings, trapped lbw by
offie Mohammed Hafeez.

Kohli and Tendulkar then brought back the
Indian innings on track with their 133-run stand for the second wicket.
They scored briskly and always kept India ahead of the asking run rate.

48-ball knock was studded with five fours and a six and by the time he
departed in the 20th over India were much ahead in the required run rate
run rate. He fell to a brilliant delivery from Saeed Ajmal (1-49) and was
caught at first slip by Younis Khan

However, there was no
stopping Kohli on the other end. The India vice-captain got his 50 in
style cutting Ajmal for a four through point in 52 balls. Kohli got his
11th ODI hundred in 97 balls.

Kohli and Rohit ripped apart the
Pakistani bowling with their 172-run stand for the third wicket that took
India to the threshold of a magical win. Rohit struck five fours and a six
in his 83-ball stay and by the time he departed in the 46th over India
needed 25 runs off 25 balls. Rohit departed in his attempt to hit out Umar
Gul (2-65) and holed out to Shahid Afridi at mid-wicket.

picked up Kohli in his next over leaving India at 318 for four in 47.1
overs. Suresh Raina (12 not out) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (4 not
out) took India home safely.

Earlier, a double century stand
between openers Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed propelled Pakistan to a
massive 329 for six in 50 overs.

Hafeez (105) and Jamshed (112)
gave Pakistan a great start with their 224-run stand after skipper
Misbah-ul-Haq opted to bat first on a track that offered little assistance
to the Indian bowlers.

Dhoni used eight bowlers with little
success. Pacers Praveen Kumar and Ashok Dinda got two wickets each but
were expensive.

Hafeez and Jamshed were aggressive from the
outset. They found the gaps easily and scored at will. Hafeez smashed nine
fours and a six in his 113-ball knock while left-handed Jamshed hit 10
fours and a six during his 104-ball stay.

Hafeez was the first to
reach his century, third of his career and soon his opening partner also
reached his maiden ODI hundred.

The batting Powerplay once again
proved to be the game changer. Jamshed in his zeal to score faster was
caught at short-third man by Irfan Pathan off off-spinner Ravichandran

Hafeez fell in the very next over, trapped plumb in front
of the wicket by Dinda. The final Powerplay yielded 38 runs for Pakistan
at the loss of two wickets.

Former skipper Younis Khan smashed a
quickfire 52 off 34 balls and Pakistan scored 73 runs in the last 10

The Indian bowling looked spineless. Tendulkar dropped
Jamshed off his own bowling but Raina took incredible one handed catch to
send Younis back, while Kohli took a good catch on the boundary to dismiss
Hammad Azam.

Kohli talks exclusively to STAR News

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