Match report: Ind v Afg – Match 3, World T20
Colombo, Sep 19: India began their 2012 ICC World T20 campaign on a winning note by trouncing Afghanistan by 23 runs. Having posted a competitive score of 159, the Indians bowled Afghanistan out for 136 at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo to register their first win of the tournament.
Earlier, upon winning the toss and opting to field first, Afghanistan had India on the defensive at the start of the match. Left-arm pacer, Shapoor Zadran, dismissed Gautam Gambhir (10) and Virender Sehwag (8) in successive overs as India were reduced to 22 for two in 4.1 overs. Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh steadied the Indian innings with a 46-run stand before Yuvraj (18) was caught at short third man off Karim Sadiq’s bowling.
Afghanistan could have done much better had it not been for their poor effort in the field. They dropped as many as four catches, which included Yuvraj Singh being dropped by Mohammed Nabi just before he was dismissed. Suresh Raina was the beneficiary of two fluffed catches, while Virat Kohli got a life when he was on 33. Afghanistan’s shoddy fielding display allowed Kohli and Raina to push the Indian score past 100 in the 14th over. Kohli (50) was eventually caught at long-off while trying to clear the ropes with an attempted big shot off pacer Dawlat Zadran. India were 114 for four in 15.4 overs at the fall of Kohli’s wicket.
Raina was bowled by off-spinner Mohammad Nabi in the 20th over, but not before the left-hander had struck a quick 38 off 33 balls. MS Dhoni then helped India finish with a score of 150-plus as he struck a four and a six off the last two deliveries of the innings. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 18.
Chasing 160 to win, Afghanistan opener, Mohammad Shahzad struck three boundaries, including two off Zaheer Khan, to take his side to 24 for no loss at the end of three overs. However, Shahzad (18), playing one shot too many, only managed to hole out to Yuvraj Singh in the fourth over as L Balaji gave India their first breakthrough. Afghanistan then lost their second wicket when Yuvraj Singh, bowling his first over, trapped Nawroz Mangal (22) lbw with the score at 52.
Afghanistan slid further to 76 for five, with Yuvraj taking two wickets off two balls in the 12th over and R Ashwin completing an easy caught and bowled to get rid of Samiullah Shenwari (1), in the 13th over. With the asking rate mounting, Mohammad Nabi struck a couple of clean sixes to keep Afghanistan in sight of the target. But when Nabi (31 off 17) was caught at mid-off off Ashwin’s bowling in the 17th over, Afghanistan’s hopes of pulling off an upset were finished. L Balaji picked up the final two wickets off successive deliveries in the 20th over as India beat Afghanistan by 23 runs.
India play England next in their final Group A encounter on September 23 at the very same venue.
Brief scores: India 159/5 in 20.0 overs (Virat Kohli 50, Suresh Raina 38, Shapoor Zadran 2/33) beat Afghanistan 136/10 in 19.3 overs (Mohammad Nabi 31, L Balaji 3/19, Yuvraj Singh 3/24, R Ashwin 2/20) by 23 runs
Man-of-the-match: Virat Kohli for his 39-ball 50