The Asia Cup has been a significant part of Virat Kohli's celebrated international career. It was in this very tournament in 2012 where the future King of cricket took baby steps towards the thrown in front of the incumbent, his idol, everyone's idol, Sachin Tendulkar.
It is also in this very tournament last year, where he rose like a phoenix to once again remind everyone of his mettle.
As yet another edition of Asia Cup looms, we at The Bharat Army jog down memory lane to revisit some of Virat's best knocks from the continental tournament.
Here's a look at Virat Kohli's top 5 knocks in Asia Cup:
#5 136 (122) vs Bangladesh, 2014
The 2014 event didn't turn out to be a memorable one for Team India, but stand-in captain Virat Kohli once again excelled as the 'chase-master'.
Kohli opened India's campaign with a bang as he smashed an chanceless 136 off 122 deliveries to help the Men in Blue chase down Bangladesh's total of 279 without breaking a sweat.
It was a typical Kohli innings, where he weathered the storm initially following the loss of Rohit Sharma (21) and Shikhar Dhawan (28), before milking and smashing the toothless Bangladesh attack to all corners of the ground.
Kohli smashed 16 fours and 2 sixes in his dazzling knock, and by the time he was dismissed, the result had become a formality.
Result: India won by 6 wickets
#4 122* (61), vs Afghanistan, 2022
Now, Virat has played better T20 knocks than the one in Afghanistan in last years' edition.
But, what makes this knock a memorable one is the backdrop revolving around.
Virat Kohli hadn't scored an international ton for almost three years, leading into that game against the Afghans on September 08, 2022.
And, the least people were expecting was for him to break the drought in a T20. But, as they say, always expect the unexpected in life.
And, cricket is indeed an ultimate reflection of life. The signs were there though. Following a rut all through the year 2022, Virat had finally looked like regaining his touch during the Asia Cup.
But, to expect a hundred was too far-fetched. Even, Kohli (by his own admission) wasn't expecting it. And, one could notice that by his celebration after he got the century; smiling almost to the point of being embarrassed.
That's what bad times do to a human being. Anyway, it was a typical Kohli T20 knock, where he consolidated initially before exploding once he got past the 50-run mark.
Kohli scored his first 59 runs in 40 deliveries, and by the time he got ready to face the 54th delivery of his innings, he had already smashed seamer Fareed Ahmad for a six to bring up the much-awaited 71st ton.
After that, it was just about Virat having fun as he smashed the Afghanistan seamers wherever he liked to eventually finish with 122* off just 61 deliveries.
Result: India won by 101 runs
#3 41* (28) v Bangladesh, 2016
The year 2016 was the first instance when the Asia Cup was played in the T20 format as a precursor to that years' T20 World Cup in India.
It was also the year when Virat Kohli entered his absolute peak in all three formats of the game. And, on expected terms, he spearheaded India's spotless title-winning campaign.
India faced hosts Bangladesh in a rain-affected final, and they were set a target of 121 in 15 overs.
The Men in Blue lost opener Rohit Sharma cheaply, but Shikhar Dhawan (60 off 44) and Kohli (41* off 28) took stock of the situation, and went on to add 94 runs in just over 11 overs.
Kohli was at his dominating best as he drove, cut, and pulled with precision to muster 5 boundaries. The Indian No.3 made sure he stayed unbeaten till the end as captain MS Dhoni finished off the game with his customary six.
Result: India won by 8 wickets
#2 49 (51) v Pakistan, 2016
This knock is a great reminder of why raw numbers should always be looked at keeping the context in mind.
On paper, an innings of 49 (51) sounds awful and match-losing in a T20, but not when your side is 8/3 (chasing 84) and the opposition pacer is making the ball talk as per his wishes.
Yep, that's exactly what was happening in Mirpur that night when Virat Kohli walked to the crease. Mohammed Amir was breathing fire. He had already taken out Rohit Sharma (0), and was about to dismiss Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina for 0 and 1 respectively.
With India reduced to 3 for nothing, and Amir baying for more blood in ideal bowling conditions, the need of the hour was to survive the onslaught by digging deep, and that's exactly what Kohli did.
Virat weathered the storm, and then made hay when the sun began to peep out with some glorious stroke-making. And, by the time he was dismissed, he had all but ensured an Indian victory.
Result: India won by 5 wickets
#1 183 (148) v Pakistan, 2012
The hallmark of a potential great player is that he/she keeps pushing the envelope in terms of their achievements on the field. The moment you think, they can't do any better. They actually do.
On March 18, 2012, Virat Kohli reminded each and every cricket fan about the aforementioned fact as he laid out yet another chasing masterclass- this time against arch-rivals Pakistan- to match his heroics in Hobart (133* off 86) less than a month ago.
Yet another 300+ run target for India to chase, and once again Kohli took it as an opportunity to showcase his mettle.
It was an innings of pure domination from the India prince as he took the likes of Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz to the cleaners through his 360-degree strokeplay.
Kohli smashed 22 fours and 1 six in his majestic 183 (148 deliveries) to help India gun down Pakistan's total of 329 with ridiculous ease.
That game turned out to be Sachin Tendulkar's final ODI. You will not find a real "passing of baton" moment like this one.
Result: India won by 6 wickets