Asia Cup: Tons by Virat Kohli, KL Rahul lift India to 356/2 in Super Four clash against Pakistan

Despite play starting one hour 40 minutes after the scheduled time on the reserve day, the game will remain a 50-overs-a-side contest.
Virat Kohli plays a shot during the Asia Cup match against Pakistan in Colombo (Photo | AP)
Virat Kohli plays a shot during the Asia Cup match against Pakistan in Colombo (Photo | AP)

COLOMBO: Tons by Virat Kohli and KL Rahul lifted India to 356/2 in 50 overs in their Super Four clash against arch-rivals Pakistan, which resumed on Monday after rain had interrupted proceedings on Sunday.

Kohli remained unbeaten on 122 off just 94 balls, while Rahul was also undefeated on 111 off 106 balls. The two batsman were involved in a 233-run partnership after coming together with the score on 123/2.

Kohli finished the innings with a six off Faheem Ashraf who conceded 18 runs in the last over. It was his 47th ton in ODIs.

Shaheen Afridi was the most expensive bowler for Pakistan, conceding 79 runs in ten overs.

The Asia Cup match had resumed at 4.40 pm local time on Monday after rain delayed the start of the reserve day.

Despite play starting one hour 40 minutes after the scheduled time, the game will remain 50 overs a side contest.

Intermittent rain had pushed Sunday's marquee game to the reserve day after India reached 147 for two in 24.1 overs.

Before the weather played spoilsport on Sunday, Kohli and Rahul were batting on 8 and 17 respectively after openers Rohit Sharma (56) and Shubman Gill (58) struck fine half-centuries.

India's Asia Cup opener against Pakistan was also impacted by rain.

The weather has been a subject of intense debate through the Sri Lanka leg of Asia Cup.

Rain is expected in the Sri Lankan capital throughout the Super 4s.

Asian Cricket Council's decision to keep a reserve day only for the India Pakistan game and the final also triggered a controversy.

Earlier on Sunday, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill gave a masterclass in aggressive batsmanship with sublime half-centuries that took India to 147 for 2 against Pakistan here on Sunday before the skies opened up to force their Asia Cup Super 4 match into the reserve day.

India had played 24.1 overs when the rain came down, and will resume from that point (24.2 overs) on the morrow.

This also means that Indian players will have to take to the field for two more days in succession– Monday for the reserve day against Pakistan and on Tuesday for their second Super 4 match against Sri Lanka.

Before nature showed its ugly face, Rohit (56, 49 balls, 6x4, 4x6) and Gill (58, 52 balls, 10x4) were in spectacular touch while adding 121 runs in just 100 balls.

On Saturday, Gill had spoken about the need to be dominant against Pakistan pacers upfront, and that's precisely what the Indian openers did.

Left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi had troubled Rohit in the past with deliveries that came in to him at a brisk clip.

But on this day, the Indian captain was better prepared.

A slightly opened up stance allowed him to deal with the incoming deliveries more effectively, and it was on display when he flicked Afridi over backward square leg for a six.

It was just a teaser as Gill also soon joined the party.

He also trained guns on Afridi, slamming him for six fours in all.

There was this classy sequence when Gill smashed Afridi for three fours in the third over.

Gill began the assault with a couple of wristy flicks, and then plonked his front foot forward and punched the ball past the mid-off fielder.

In the fifth over, Gill again tore into Afridi with another delectable shot.

The right-hander shimmied down the track to reach the pitch of the ball, and then pummelled it over the head of the bowler.

It was a magnificent confluence of pure timing and power.

India reached 61 for no loss in the first Power Play and it was also one of those rare occasions when Afridi failed to pick up a wicket in that segment.

Even though Afridi was completely neutralised, Pakistan tried to make some dents on the Indian batting line-up through pacer Naseem Shah.

When conditions are in his favour, Naseem can be a dangerous prospect, and here there was appreciable bounce too on the pitch.

The right-arm pacer worked up pace in excess of 140 kmph and Rohit might just consider himself extremely lucky not to snick a delivery behind to the stumper or to the waiting cordon.

However, Rohit had no such issues when leg-spinner Shadab Khan was introduced into the attack.

Rohit brought his pet pull shot out of the cupboard to punish the Pakistan vice-captain with three sixes inside his first two overs.

Shadab might have learned the lesson in a hard way that never ever drop the ball short against Rohit.

Pakistan's desperate wait to get a breakthrough ended when Shadab eventually took a bit of revenge on Rohit.

Rohit could not time or place his uppish chip shot and Faheem Ashraf took a tumbling catch much to the relief of Pakistan.

Pakistan soon secured another wicket as Gill fell to Afridi, an iota of solace for the bowler after all that punishment earlier.

Gill shaped up for a drive through the cover but realised that the ball was a slower leg-cutter and all he could do was to prod the ball to Salman Agha.

Rahul, who came in for Shreyas Iyer suffering from back spasm, looked good during his brief stay, in the company of Kohli.

But all that came to a halt after the play was suspended due to heavy showers.

The ground staff tried their best to revive the match and there were inspections on 7 pm, 7.30 pm, 8 pm and 8.30 pm.

But that final inspection did not even take place properly as it began to rain once again and the officials had no other way but to activate the reserve day.

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