Sunday 18 March 2012 

Superb Kohli Keeps India's Asia Cup Hopes Alive

Superb Kohli Keeps India's Asia Cup Hopes Alive
Superb Kohli Keeps India's Asia Cup Hopes Alive
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

India 330-4 (Kohli 183, Sharma 68) beat
Pakistan 329-6 (Nasir Jamshed 112) by six wickets
Asia Cup, Mirpur

A stunning innings of 183 in 148 balls from Virat Kohli drove India to a six-wicket win over Pakistan that keeps their Asia Cup hopes alive.

Despite conceding 330 in less than 48 overs to cede defeat, Pakistan are at least safe in the knowledge that they will contest the final on 22nd March - when either India or Bangladesh will be their opponents.

Batting first, twin centuries from openers Nasir Jamshed (112) and Mohammad Hafeez (105) set up their mammoth score, Younus Khan also blasting a quickfire 52 in 34 balls.

Jamshed, who faced 104 balls, and Hafeez, who faced 113 deliveries, put on 224 for the first wicket and it was not until the 36th over that India broke through.

Umar Akmal made a swift 28 to keep up the pressure and Shahid Afridi (9) reached his 7000th One-Day International run before two wickets apiece from Praveen Kumar and Ashok Dinda prevented Pakistan from reaching a truly insurmountable score.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Irfan Pathan were the other bowlers - of the eight used by Mahendra Singh Dhoni - who took a wicket.

India then started poorly when Gautam Gambhir was trapped in front by Hafeez with the score on zero but fresh from scoring his one hundredth international century in the previous game, Sachin Tendulkar (52) joined forces with Kohli to add 133 for the second wicket.

He faced just 48 balls, hitting five fours and one six but at the other end, Kohli was in supreme touch.

He formed a second devastating partnership with Rohit Sharma, whose share of a stand worth 172 for the third wicket was an excellent 68 in 83 balls.

The pair took India past the 300 mark and Kohli reached a new career-best and then set a new record - and one that will take some beating - for the Asia Cup.

Umar Gul dismissed both men - Kohli caught by Hafeez and Sharma by Afridi - but by then, India had done enough, and it was left to Suresh Raina (12 not out) and Dhoni (4 not out) to complete the job.

Dhoni won the match in style by cutting Gul for four to complete India's highest successful run chase in ODIs.

Bangladesh play Sri Lanka on 20th March in the final group game.

© Cricket World 2012

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