India thrashed Pakistan in their Super 4 match. (Image: AP)
KL Rahul joined Team India for the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4 in Sri Lanka. From the minute he landed in the island nation, debates started about whether he should be drafted in the playing XI against Pakistan or not. While some former cricketers backed Rahul to reclaim his spot, others opined that Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer should continue to feature in India's line-up.
Luck favoured KL Rahul as Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of the match against Pakistan with back spasm. Rahul, who was out of action since suffering a thigh injury at the IPL 2023, announced his India comeback with a welcoming run-a-ball hundred. He, along with Virat Kohli, stitched an unbeaten 233-run partnership for the third wicket to power India to a total of 356/2 in 50 overs.
In reply, Pakistan suffered early blow as India bowlers continued to make inroads. Kuldeep Yadav took a five-wicket haul, while Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur picked up one wicket each to bundle out Pakistan for 128 in 32 overs. After India's convincing win, the Men in Blue moved on to the top of the Super 4 table.
India captain Rohit Sharma made a stunning revelation after the team's biggest-ever win over Pakistan in ODI cricket. He said that the management told Rahul about his inclusion in India's playing XI just "five minutes" before the toss.
"Virat's innings was brilliantly paced. And then KL, last minute to get back from injury and play 5 minutes before the toss. We told him to get ready," Rohit said at the post-match presentation. "Shows the mindset of the player. Looking at how we batted, there were lots of positives with the openers and then Virat and KL."
India will next play Sri Lanka on September 12 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. India lead the Super 4 points table with two points from one match.