Virat Kohli and KL Rahul’s unbeaten centuries, followed by Kuldeep Yadav’s five-fer led India to a massive 228-run victory over Pakistan in the high-octane PAK vs IND clash of the ongoing Asia Cup 2023 on Monday. Pakistan had a mountain to climb to book their spot in the final of the Asia Cup 2023 as they were set to chase a mammoth 357 against India. The hosts after getting off to a dismal start, lost wickets at an alarming rate before being bundled out for a paltry 128 in 32 overs and thus India launched their Super 4s campaign with a resounding victory. Out-of-form opener Fakhar Zaman remained the top-scorer for Pakistan amid their dismal batting show with a scratchy 27 off 50 deliveries with the help of two boundaries. After Fakhar, the next-best contributors for Pakistan were Salman Ali Agha and Iftikhar Ahmed, who scored 23 each, followed by their skipper Babar Azam (10).

Besides them, none of their batters could make it to the double figures and Pakistan, consequently could raise 128 for the loss of eight wickets. Since, their pacers Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah were not fit to bat, Pakistan were deemed bowled out for a skimpy total. Kuldeep Yadav led the bowling attack for India in the high-octane PAK vs IND clash with a five-wicket haul, which came at the cost of just 25 runs. Whereas, Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur and returning Jasprit Bumrah contributed with one wicket apiece. Virat Kohli scored a brilliant 122 off 94 balls, laced with nine boundaries and three sixes. He scored his 47th ODI century, second most ODI centuries and completed his 13000 ODI runs, becoming only the fifth player to do so.

Meanwhile, KL Rahul made his return to competitive cricket in style after getting injured during the Indian Premier League in April-May. He scored 111 runs off 106 balls with the help of 12 boundaries and two sixes. KL Rahul (17) and Virat Kohli (8) resumed their innings at 147 and continued their domination against Pakistani bowlers on the reserve day after the highly-anticipated PAK vs IND clash was postponed yesterday to the reserve day after persistent rain denied play on Sunday. Notably, Pakistan entered the ground without their injured ace fast bowler Haris Rauf and was forced to bowl Iftikhar Ahmed, who gave away 52 runs in 5.2 overs. Pakistan captain Babar Azam put India into bat after winning the toss yesterday in the high-octane PAK vs IND clash. Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill gave India a flying start with a magnificent 121-run partnership. The pair dominated Pakistan’s bowling attack including their pace trio of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah. Both Gill and Sharma, who struggled against the trio in the previous PAK vs IND clash on September 2, made a sensational comeback.

The duo frustrated Pakistan bowlers before Shadab Khan finally struck in his third over, removing Sharma, soon after he amassed his half-century. Rohit Sharma smashed six boundaries and four sixes on his way to a brisk 49-ball 56. Gill, on the other hand, soon followed the footsteps of his captain and walked back to the pavilion in the next over after being outdone by Shaheen Shah Afridi’s slower delivery. He scored a 52-ball 58 which featured 10 boundaries. Following the back-to-back blows, star batter Virat Kohli and returning KL Rahul batted cautiously amid their unbeaten 24-run partnership for the third wicket before rain interrupted the PAK vs IND clash yesterday. They resumed cautiously on the reserve day before shifting gears in the latter overs. KL Rahul and Virat Kohli knitted a magnificent unbeaten partnership of 233 runs in 194 balls to decimate the Pakistani bowling lineup. Pakistani star fast bowler Shaheen Afridi picked one wicket and gave away 79 runs in his ten overs, while Shadab Khan picked 1 wicket for 71 runs. India won by 228 runs against Pakistan

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