A Much Needed Win for India

Batters fire India to a massive victory.

India 210/2

Afghanistan 144/7

Following two identical failures in this T20 World Cup, India has recorded the highest total of the tournament, 210 against Afghanistan, and a decisive victory as a consequence. India will now hope that Afghanistan upsets New Zealand so that they can rectify their own net run rate in the Super 12s final against Namibia.

India’s openers appeared more at ease against a team lacking one of their two main spinners, Mujeeb ur Rahman and put together India’s biggest opening partnership at T20 World Cups. With a 63-run partnership in the last 3.3 overs, Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant gave India the closing touch. After putting up such a large total, India’s bowling proved too excellent for Afghanistan, limiting them to 144 runs and increasing the net-run rate into the positives.

Afghanistan went against their formula of batting first and inserted India for only the third time in their past 16 winning tosses. It was a unique decision, but also because it reflected their attitude. India was just seeking a win first and foremost and would have pursued it.

Although Mohammed Nabi only gave up seven runs in his first over, Sharafuddin Ashraf was played like an offspinner by KL Rahul. India had three fours and a six in the first two overs of spin. In the powerplay, Naveen-ul-Haq was again dismissed, bringing India’s total to 53 for 0.

Afghanistan began a brief phase of battling back when Hamid Hassan bowled a brilliant sixth over for only one run. However, Rahul snapped a 20-ball boundary drought in the ninth over by guiding a wayward Sharafuddin delivery down the leg side. Rahul and Rohit reopened the fight, and Rashid was taken out as well. Rashid threw nearly all bad pitches, and both batters attempted to hit him in the leg side. They both got out while attempting to accelerate, but not before hitting 140.

The worst moment to bowl to great hitters is when they have nothing to lose and know there will be more. Pant and Pandya smashed five sixes and five fours between them to annihilate Afghanistan with no meaningful price on their wickets.

Afghanistan needed a strong start from Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad to have a chance at the aim, but Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah’s pace and movement were too much for them. By the beginning of the third over, they brought the total to 13 for 2. For the first time since 2017, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin collaborated in limited-overs cricket.

Nabi and Karim Janat then held off the bowling till the start of the death overs, scoring 57 runs off 38 balls for the sixth wicket. Despite the fact that Nabi didn’t bat till the finish, Janat scored 42 runs off 22 balls to help Afghanistan reach 144 runs, which might be key for one of the three sides.