India beat Afghans to keep hope alive
Following back-to-back defeats, India reminded the world how good they are in the shortest format of the game, following an emphatic 66-run win over Afghanistan to register their first win of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup yesterday.
The powerhouse Indian batting line-up set things up for the perennial contenders, who posted the highest total of the competition so far - 210 for the loss of two wickets.
A resolute bowling performance saw the Afghans getting to 144 for seven thanks to three wickets for Mohammed Shami.
It was Player of the Match Rohit Sharma and his opening partner, KL Rahul, who stole the show early on as the pair batted close to 15 overs to put on 140 runs for the opening wicket.
Sharma was in a no-nonsense mood and rattled up 74 runs from 47 balls with eight fours and three sixes, while Rahul got to 69 from 48 balls with six fours and two sixes.
Hardik Pandya and Rishab Pant would cap off a brilliant display with the bat, following scores of 35 and 27 not out, respectively, to take the Indians over the 200 mark.
That score was always going to be challenging for the Afghans, and the loss of early wickets didn’t help either, however, Karim Janat, with a valiant 42 not out from 22 balls, got them closer than was expected.
Captain Mohammad Nabi contributed 35 from 32 balls, but in the end, Shami and Ravi Ashwin, with two wickets, ensured that the Indians remain in touching distance with a final four spot with two vital points.
“We spoke about the fact that in the other games, if we just had two overs of free-flowing batting, then that sends a message to the opposition that we are going to put you under the pump. When we do that, we know how we can play,” said Indian captain Virat Kohli.
In the other Group Two fixture, New Zealand moved to third place with four points after getting the better of Scotland by 16 runs.
Martin Guptil hit 93 to lift the Kiwi’s to 172 for five, after which Trent Boult and Ish Sodhi bagged two wickets each to restrict Scotland to 156 for five despite 42 not out from Michael Leask.