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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

India holds nerve to defeat Afghanistan in low-scoring thriller

India have continued their unbeaten run at this World Cup. India are now third on the table, with 1 point less than Australia with a match in hand over them, and with an NRR less than New Zealand.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: June 24, 2019 11:52:19 am
India players celebrate the wicket of Afghanistan’s Hashmatullah Shahidi in Southampton on Saturday (AP Photo)

India have beaten Afghanistan by 11 runs at The Rose Bowl in Southampton on Saturday. With this win, India have continued their unbeaten run at this World Cup while Afghanistan are yet to register any win in their campaign. This is India’s smallest margin of victory in terms of runs in the history of the World Cup.

Toss: India skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and decided that India would bat first.

First Innings: Afghanistan’s bowlers rebounded from their last match to restrict India to 224-8 in 50 overs. Afghanistan’s spinners picked up five wickets between them as India’s batsmen never really got their momentum going on a tricky pitch.

Skipper Virat Kohli top-scored with 67 off 63 balls, inclusive of five boundaries, and was the best batsman on display. Rohit Sharma (1) was out in the fifth over. Lokesh Rahul (30) put on 57 runs with Kohli for the second wicket. MS Dhoni (28) and Kedar Jadhav (52) stabilized the innings with 57 runs for the fifth wicket. But Dhoni faced 52 balls and his innings ended tamely in the 45th over when he was stumped for only a second time in an ODI since 2011.

Second Innings: Afghanistan lost Hazratullah Zazai early. Mohammad Shami gave India first breakthrough as he bowled out Zazai after a watchful start. Just after Afghanistan crossed 50-run mark, Hardik Pandya got rid of Naib to give Afghanistan second blow. Shahidi and Shah then guided Afghanistan past 100 before Bumrahs’ double blow rattled them.

Jasprit Bumrah’s double-strike then revived India as two set batsmen Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi were sent back in quick succession. Yuzvendra Chahal then added to Afghanistan’s misery bowling out Asghar Afghan, giving Afghanistan the fifth blow. Mohammed Nabi (52) came up with a brilliant rearguard innings that almost took Afghanistan home, but he was out in the last over with 12 runs needed off the last three balls. Mohammed Shami took three wickets off the last three balls of the match.

Gamechanger: Man of the Match Jasprit Bumrah dismissed both Shah (36 and Shahidi (21) in the 29th over to bring Afghanistan’s run-chase off track. The floodgates opened after that and India never let up on the pressure after that. With the required run rate creeping up and Afghanistan’s batsmen of note departing in a hurry, India wrestled back the momentum of the match.

His 49th over was also integral in India’s victory. With victory within grasp of Afghanistan, Bumrah bowled six pinpointed yorkers and conceded just 5 runs, giving Mohammed Shami a cushion of 14 runs to defend in the last over.

Captains Speak

Gulbadin Naib: Our bowlers bowled really well. We know India have a strong batting line-up. Bumrah was superb at the death – in the last two, three overs. Our spinners bowled according to the plan. In the end it was a good game. The total was not big, but we needed someone to make 80. 30s are not enough to cross the line. We lost badly in the first half of the tournament, but we have played some good cricket in the second half and I am happy with the way the team has performed.

Virat Kohli: This win is right up there to be honest. We have been playing some good cricket and you expect yourself to win the toss and put big runs on the board and then you see the pitch being slow with three quality spinners in the opposition, I felt 270 should have been ideal and thought 250 would have been par.

Brief Scores: IND 224/8 (50 overs) | AFG 213 all out (49.5 overs)

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