ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Match 28 Report, India vs Afghanistan: Mohammed Shami became only the second Indian bowler to record a World Cup hat-trick as India edge Afghanistan in a thriller of a contest at Rose Bowl, Southampton on Saturday. India’s frontline bowlers rose up to occasion as they rallied to defend a modest score of 224 after an ordinary batting performance. The likes of Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya stopped Afghanistan from pulling off one of the greatest World Cup upsets. (SCORECARD)
Shami dismissed Mohammad Nabi, Aftab Alam and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman off consecutive balls in the final over to secure India’s memorable 11-run win. Bumrah, Chahal and Pandya grabbed 2 apiece after Virat Kohli (67) and Kedar Jadhav (52) had helped India post a modest 224/8 off their 50 overs. Riding on a fighting half-century from Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan batsmen fought till the very end and gave India a real scare. (MATCH HIGHLIGHTS)
In the end, India held their nerves better and won their 50th match in all World Cups. India now have 9 points (4 wins, 1 no result) from 5 matches in the 2019 World Cup. Chasing 225 against a top quality bowling attack, Afghan openers were tied down by the guile and skill of Shami and Bumrah. Hazratullah Zazai lost his patience, swung for the skies and Shami hit timber. But Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah added 44 off the next 10.2 overs to calm nerves in the Afghan dressing room.
Hardik Pandya had given away 20 runs off his first 2 overs and that was hurting India in a low-scoring game. But Kohli’s trusts in Pandya was repaid by the dyanmic all-rounder as he provided the Men in Blue an all-important breakthrough. Sure enough, Hardik Pandya took out Naib as Afghanistan slipped to 64 for 2 off 16.5 overs.
Earlier, India’s famed middle-order failed miserably in their first test as Afghanistan dished out a superlative bowling effort to restrict the two-time champions to a below-par 224. Afghanistan’s IPL stars Mohammed Nabi (9-0-33-2), Mujeeb ur Rahman (10-1-26-1) and Rashid Khan (10-0-38-1) put brakes on India’s other star batsmen, keeping them under tight leash on a slow track that offered both turn and bounce.
It was a glorious comeback by Afghanistan bowlers, as Indian batsmen played 152 dot balls (equivalent to 25.2 overs). This was after being hit for a record 25 sixes by England in the previous game.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (28 off 52 balls) and Jadhav (52 off 68 balls) were unable to accelerate against the slow bowlers adding only 57 runs in 14 overs during the middle phase. Dhoni’s inability to rotate strike during middle overs and Kedar’s lack of game time was evident as they could never really force the pace. Worse, they didn’t even intend to take any risk against the three spinners.
While the odd-ball was holding up and there was some turn available, at times, Kedar and Dhoni were even defending fuller deliveries. The intent was missing and suddenly they were trying to play out the overs bowled by Mujeeb, easily the best of the lot with 38 dot balls to his credit.
Dhoni was finally relieved from his miseries by Rashid as the desperate former skipper came down the track and was stumped.
Skipper Gulbadin Naib (2/51) also impressed with his seam-up stuff dismissing Kedar off the penultimate delivery of the innings. Before this game, India lost 14 wickets in the three completed games and none of the wickets went to the spinners.
It started with India’s in-form opener Rohit Sharma being beaten by a doosra from Mujeeb as he lunged forward for a defensive stroke. KL Rahul despite scoring 30 could never really get the measure of Mujeeb, his Kings XI Punjab teammate.
The itch to outsmart Nabi cost Rahul dearly as he tried a reverse sweep only to find Hazratullah Zazai at short third-man after a 57-run stand with Kohli.
Kohli never looked in trouble and hit one beautiful cover drive off Rashid. Vijay Shankar (29 off 41 balls) nudged around and was steady during their 58-run stand before being adjudged leg before by Rahmat Shah.
Kohli looked good for another hundred but missed three in three games, trying to cut Nabi with the turn. Once Kohli was out, the Indian innings lost momentum.