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Asia Cup 2023: Kohli-Rahul record stand against Pak silences critics

Asia Cup 2023: Why Virat Kohli and KL Rahul's record partnership is a great sign for team India? Virat Kohli, KL Rahul put on an unbeaten 233-run partnership against Pakistan.

Asia Cup 2023, IND vs PAK, Super 4_ KL Rahul, Virat Kohli added 233-run for third wicket against Pakistan _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Rahul, Virat Kohli added 233-run for third wicket against Pakistan (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

India cleared the pathway to Asia Cup 2023 final mostly due to the efforts of two of India’s star batters - Virat Kohli and KL Rahul.


Both scored a century each in the marathon unbeaten 233-run stand for the third wicket, which is the eighth highest in ODI history for that wicket. It was also the highest-ever partnership in Asia Cup cricket for any wicket.

So what happened in the game?

Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill got the team off to a flying start, with each scoring a half-century in quick time. But both these batters got out in successive overs, after their outstanding partnership of 121 for the opening wicket.


This led to Kohli venturing into the field and he was joined at the crease by the returning Rahul, who was playing his first match after May 2023. The pair played with caution initially, rotating the strike and finding the fence too when possible.

They didn’t allow the Pakistani bowlers, especially the spinners, to settle down and ensured that runs continued to flow in the middle-overs. Haris Rauf’s absence from the field on day two also didn’t benefit the Pakistan side, as their usually potent pace attack found it quite hard to deal with the pair of India batters.


Both Rahul and Kohli found no trouble in scoring and they paced the innings well by playing textbook cricketing strokes. They weren’t overtly aggressive by any stretch of imagination, but they kept on piling runs.

The pair grew from strength to strength, completing the century run stand and then converting it into a partnership for over 200 runs. They ended up adding an unbroken 233 runs for the third wicket and eventually took India’s total to 356/2, their joint highest total against arch-rival Pakistan.

The beauty of this stand lies in the fact that both the batters never seemed out of touch, nor did they play any rash or ugly shots even towards the end of the innings. This allowed India to just go for the kill first with the bat and then the bowlers chipped in to give India a massive 228-run win.


ODI cricket is all about partnerships, and this epic stand between these two frontline batters has given a huge morale boost to the team management. Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill are amongst the best openers currently, and Shreyas Iyer has a proven track record. Ishan Kishan has been admirably consistent in the format and Hardik Pandya has risen to the occasion on numerous occasions. These are good signs for India as far as the batting department is concerned ahead of the all-important World Cup 2023.


Asia Cup 2023, IND vs PAK, Super 4_ KL Rahul, Virat Kohli added 233-run for third wicket against Pakistan _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
KL Rahul scored unbeaten 111 against Pakistan (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
KL Rahul’s comeback has been smooth

There was a lot of speculation on KL Rahul’s selection in the Asia Cup squad, as well as for the World Cup, as he was making a comeback after a long-drawn injury and didn’t have much match practice.


Adding to the woes, the designated keeper-batter was going to miss the initial part of Asia Cup owing to a niggle. And his form before the injury layoff wasn’t the best either.


Then Iyer had to be taken out of the playing 11 after suffering from back spasm at the last moment. And so it happened, that Rahul had to be included in the team, and his comeback game would be the all-important one against Pakistan. He silenced all his critics in his first innings for India, bringing up his 6th ODI century and going past 2000 runs in the format.

His composure in handling the pacers and spinners alike was impressive. He read the situation well and got an incredible batting partner in Kohli, which led to him scoring an unbeaten 111.

In the very next game against Sri Lanka, Rahul was again the best Indian batter on a pitch that was turning square. Though he made only 39, the way he tackled Sri Lankan spinners was great to watch. As a keeper too, Rahul didn’t look rusty and these are definitely positive signs for the team.

Asia Cup 2023, IND vs PAK, Super 4_ Virat Kohli scores 47th ODI ton; scored 122 against Pakistan _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Virat Kohli scores 47th ODI ton; scored 122 against Pakistan (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Virat Kohli proves his class once again

Virat Kohli is arguably the best ODI batsman of all time. His sheer consistency in the format is a testament to the claim and he once again showed his class against his favorite opponent - Pakistan - at Colombo.

After two wickets fell in quick succession, Kohli had to rebuild the Indian innings with Rahul, and the star batter did that efficiently. He took his time initially, accumulating one’s and two’s, and then started playing a usual Kohli knock by sending the ball to the boundary.

Despite a slow start, he raced to an 84-ball century and eventually ended the innings unbeaten on 122. This was his 47th ODI ton and 3rd against Pakistan.

This is Kohli’s 4th ODI ton in the last 10 months and he averages over 55 this year. He is an epitome of consistency in ODIs, and his current form is ominous for other teams in the World Cup.

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