ICC Men's T20 World Cup, India vs Afghanistan: As it happened
India defeated Afghanistan by 66 runs to register their first win of the ICC men's T20 World Cup 2021. The Men in Blue were put in to bat by the Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi, and the team got off to a brilliant start, with KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma playing a 140-run stand. Hardik Pandya (35 runs off 15 balls) and Rishabh Pant (27 off 13) did the rest as India put 210/2 on board.
"We wanted to get off to a good start which didn't happen in the first two games," Rohit Sharma said after the match.
"There was a conscious effort to lay a good platform for the other batters to express themselves later. Exceptional batting from KL as well. Looking at the trend, they've batted first in all their games. We were looking to field first, but it was a good pitch to bat on. A good start and a respectable total were very important from our side.
"We knew run rate could come into play and we wanted to win by a good margin, glad that we did that. Whatever the team requires, I'll try to do that. Today the need was for a quick start, normally I try to assess early on but today I had to play a bit differently," he added.
Afghanistan started their innings on the front foot, but Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah gave their team a breakthrough in the first four overs. The Afghans were hitting every now and then but were losing wickets at regular intervals.
"We wanted to bat second because of the dew, and the wicket looked really good for batting," said Mohammad Nabi after the match. "In the end there wasn't that much dew, but India batted really well on this pitch and put our bowlers under pressure. We didn't rotate strike well in the middle, and we threw away our wickets and got under pressure."
A win for India has pushed them up to the fourth spot in Group 2 of Super 12. Their next assignment is against Scotland before they play Namibia in the final group stage match. Victories in both of these matches won't warrant them a place in the semi-final as their fate is in New Zealand's hands. The Kiwis face Namibia and Afghanistan in their remaining group stage matches and only a defeat in one of those fixtures will give India a hope.