Spirited Afghanistan lost to India by 23 runs
Spirited Afghanistan gave India a scare but eventually lost by 23 runs in their ICC World Twenty20 opener at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on Wednesday.
In purist of a challenging 160-run target, Afghanistan were comfortable reached 75-2 in 12 overs but a late collapse saw the newborn cricketing side being bowled out for 136 with three balls to spare.
Mohammad Nabi plundered 31 off 17 balls with two boundaries and as many sixes, while Karim Sadiq and skipper Nawroz Mangal scored 26 and 22 runs respectively.
Yuvraj Singh ripped through the threatening Afghan top-order with finished with 3-24. Paceman recorded the figures of 3-19 but India’s strike bowler Zaheer Khan struggled, and conceded 32 runs without reward off three overs.
Though six of Afghanistan batsmen failed to reach double-digits but the flamboyant hitting from Nabi and Sadiq ensured a tough contest.
Earlier, a blistering half-century from Virat Kohli helped India to manage a competitive total of 159-5.
The consistent batsman hit 50 off 39 balls and shared a 48-run fourth-wicket stand with Suresh Raina (38 off 33) as India recovered from the early dismissal of openers.
Paceman Shapoor Zardan vindicated skipper Nowroz Mangal’s decision to bowl first and scalped openers Gautam Gambhir (10) and Virender Sehwag (8) early in the innings before Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh (18) repaired the damage with a 48-run third-wicket stand.
The recovery stand ended with the dismissal of Yuvraj, who mistimed Dawlat Zardan’s incoming delivery to gift a catch to Mohammad Nabi.
Kohli and Raina then took the charge and, concentrating on the rotation of strike and propelling loose deliveries past rope, continued the march towards competitiveness.
Kohli brought up his fifty off 38 balls with the help of four boundaries and two sixes but skied a catch to Nabi at deep long off Dawlat in the next delivery.
Afghanistan will play defending champions England on Friday while the last game of group A between India and England is scheduled in Colombo on Sunday.
Nabi removed Raina in the final over, after the left added 34 runs for the fifth wicket stand with skipper MS Dhoni. Raina’s knock was studded with six boundaries
The top two teams from the group will advance to the Super Eights round.