T20 World Cup 2021: All-round India beats Afghanistan by 66 runs, scripts maiden win of the tournament
On Wednesday, India dismantled Afghanistan by 66 runs in its Super 12 tie of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 in Abu Dhabi. It is India's maiden win of the tournament, as it stays in contention for the semis.
It was an impressive performance by former champion India as it dominated Afghanistan by 66 runs in its Group 2 Super 12 clash of the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. While it was India's maiden win of the competition this season, it has kept its hopes of semis qualification alive.
Winning the toss, Afghan skipper Mohammad Nabi opted to bowl, as he made a change by dropping spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman. On the other hand, Indian captain Virat Kohli made a couple of changes by bringing in Suryakumar Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin. At the same time, spinner Varun Chakravarthy missed out due to a niggle.
The Indian openers started with a bang, with KL Rahul (69) and Rohit Sharma (74) putting up a 140-run partnership. While Rohit scored his 23rd T20I half-century, he fell to medium-pacer Karim Janat in the 15th over. Just seven runs later, Rahul was bowled over by medium-pacer Gulbadin Naib in the 17th.
However, Rishabh Pant (27*) and Hardik Pandya (35*) contributed to a 63-run stand for the third wicket, during which the former also survived a leg-before scare. The two slammed the Afghan bowlers all over the park in the closing stages of the innings, as India posted the highest total of the tournament this season, 210/2.
The Afghans put seven bowlers into the attack, with Naib and Janat being the only ones to claim wickets, while the latter and spinner Nabi were the most economical ones from their side. In reply, Afghanistan lost its openers Hazratullah Zazai (13) and Mohammad Shahzad (0) within the fourth over of the Powerplay, with just 13 runs on the board.
A 35-run partnership ensued between Rahmanullah Gurbaz (19) and Gulbadin Naib (18) before spinner Ravindra Jadeja got rid of the former in the seventh, followed by the latter 11 runs later in the tenth, at 59. Najibullah Zadran (11) was the next to be dismissed, ten runs later, after being cleaned up by Ashwin in the 12th.
Although an impressive 57-run partnership for the sixth wicket ensued between Nabi (35) and Karim Janat (42*), it wasn't enough as the former was sent back by seamer Mohammed Shami in the 19th, followed by Rashid Khan (0) in the same over. The Afghans kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
At the same time, the scoreboard pressure compelled them to go for the shots, thus giving away their wickets, as India eventually sealed a spectacular 66-run win. The Indians utilised six bowlers, with Shami claiming three, while Ashwin nailed it with his economy.
Brief scores: India 210/2 (Rahul- 69, Rohit- 74, Pandya- 35; Janat- 1/7) vs Afghanistan 144/7 (Janat-42*; Shami- 3/32) by 66 runs.