Power-packed batting display from Indian openers was followed by spirited bowling performance as Men in Blue thrashed Afghanistan by 66 runs in the Group 2 match of the Super 12 stage of the ongoing ICC men’s T20 World Cup in Abu Dhabi at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Wednesday. With this win, Virat Kohli and boys kept themselves alive in the semifinals race of the tournament.
Men in Blue lit up Abu Dhabi with a stunning display of power-hitting to post 210/2 as Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul played innings of 74 and 69, respectively. And in reply, Afghanistan never looked like chasing it down, finishing on 144/7, still 66 runs short.
Mohammad Shami scalped three wickets while Ravichandran Ashwin took two. Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja returned with apiece for India.
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Chasing 211, Afghanistan were 47/2 after the powerplay as they stared down the barrel of a heavy defeat. Indian bowlers clawed further deep as Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Gulbadin Naib were removed before halfway point of their chase.
Ravichandran Ashwin struck again as he clean bowled Najibullah Zadran in the 11th over. With runs in scarcity, Mohammad Nabi and Raashid Khan feel were sent back to the dressing room by Mohammad Shami in the penultimate over of the match. In the end, Afghanistan fell short 66 runs short of the target.
Earlier, put in to bat first, a selection reshuffle saw Rohit Sharma moving back up to opener alongside KL Rahul, and the pair more than justified the move with a brilliant century stand. After that Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant finished the innings in style by scoring 35* and 27* respectively.
Brief score: India 210/2 (Rohit Sharma 74, KL Rahul 69; Karim Janat 1-7, Gulbadin Naib 1-39) vs Afghanistan 144/7 (Karim Janat 42*, Mohammad Nabi 35; Mohammad Shami 3-32, Ravichandran Ashwin 2-14).