Dubai: Hong Kong cricket team on Wednesday sent star Indian batter Virat Kohli a heartfelt message and gifted him a team jersey.
Suryakumar Yadav's blistering 68*, Virat Kohli's 59* and Ravindra Jadeja's quick fielding helped India secure direct qualification to the Super Four phase of the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 after beating Hong Kong by 40 runs here at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
The message on the jersey read: "Virat, Thank you for inspiring a generation. We stand with you! There are many incredible days ahead. With strength. With love. Team Hong Kong."
The star batter was delighted by the gift and took to Instagram to thank the Hong Kong team for their gesture.
"Thank you @hkcricket. This gesture is truly humbling and very very sweet," said Kohli in a story posted by him showing the jersey.
This message comes at a time when Kohli is aiming to hit his best form.
Since his last international century over a thousand days back, Kohli has represented India in 70 matches and scored 2,648 runs across 84 innings at an average of 34.84. He has hit 25 half-centuries across all formats since his last international ton.
2022 in particular has been very tough for Kohli.
This year, Kohli has played only six T20Is for his side, across which he has scored 175 runs at a subpar average of 35.00. His best score in the format this year is 59*. He has made two half-centuries for India in this format.
Across all formats this year, he has represented India in 18 matches and across 21 innings, he had been able to score only 570 runs at an average of 28.50. Only five half-centuries have come off his bat, with the best score of 79.
Coming to the match against Hong Kong, put to bat first by Hong Kong, Team India posted 192/2 in their 20 overs. Virat Kohli showcased glimpses of his old self and hit 59* off 44 balls, decorated with a four and three massive sixes. Then in the final few overs, Suryakumar Yadav exploded, smashing a brilliant 68* off 26 balls with six fours and six sixes.
Pacer Ayush Shukla (1/29 in four overs) was Hong Kong's bowlers' pick.
Chasing 193, Hong Kong had posted 51/2 in their powerplay. Babar Hayat (41 off 35 balls) and Kinchit Shah (30 off 28 balls) played some solid knocks. But it was not enough to help Hong Kong shock the mighty Indians as they fell 40 runs short of a win. They finished their innings at 152/5 in their 20 overs. India earned direct qualification to the Super Four Phase of the tournament.
Ravindra Jadeja (1/15 in four overs) was the pick of the bowlers for India. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan also took a wicket each.
Suryakumar Yadav was adjudged as 'Man of the Match' for his brilliant knock.