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.
And that's that! India win their first match of T20 World Cup 2021
India beat Afghanistan by 66 runs, courtesy of a brilliant batting display from the openers followed by an equally apt performance from the bowling attack.
That, however, is one step as India are still dependent on New Zealand's remaining matches. If the Kiwis win against Namibia and Afghanistan, India will have to head back home.
Rohit Sharma - 74 (47)
KL Rahul - 69 (48)
Karim Janat - 42 (22)
Mohammad Nabi - 35 (32)
WICKET! Shami strikes... twice
Mohammad Nabi and Karim Janat were building a beautiful partnership but Mohammed Shami has delivered a blow. The Afghanistan captain hits an aerial shot towards deep midwicket, but lack of power means the ball lands right in Ravindra Jadeja's safe hands.
Could have been two wickets in two, but replays show the ball hit the ground. Would have been a special catch there from Jadeja.
Never mind the replay as Rashid Khan is dismissed in the very next delivery. This time it's Hardik Pandya who takes the catch.
Afghanistan: 139 after 19 overs.
What a spell!
WICKET! Ashwin is unplayable tonight
Ravichandran Ashwin picks another and this time it's Najibullah Zadran. The middle-order batter went for a reserve sweep, but the ball turned and hit the stump. A poor shot selection from the 28-year-old and India are cruising towards their first victory of ICC T20 World Cup 2021.
Afghanistan: 70/5 after 12 overs.
WICKET! Another one gone
Ravichandran Ashwin picks his first wicket of ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Gulbadin Naib goes for a sweep but missed the line entirely as the ball clips his pad. He thought of taking a review but the ball is clearly hitting the stumps.
Afghanistan are in big trouble now. They are already four wickets down and the asking rate is above 15.
Afghanistan: 61/4 after 10 overs.
WICKET! Breakthrough for India
Ravindra Jadeja breaks the dangerous partnership and Rahmanullah has to walk back. The top-order batsman went for a big hit, but the shot lacked power. Hardik Pandya takes a tricky catch at wide long-on right beside the rope.
Brilliant over from the Indian all-rounder.
Afghanistan: 49/3 after seven overs.
Gulbadin and Rahmanullah steadying the ship
Gulbadin Naib and Rahmanullah Gurbaz are playing beautifully there. The two batsmen have combined for 34 runs in just 17 balls already.
It all started in the fifth over when Shami conceded 21 runs before Hardik Pandya went for nine runs. And that's the end of the powerplay overs.
Afghanistan: 47/2 after six overs.
Trouble for Afghanistan!
Big blow for the Afghans. The team has lost both of their openers within the first four overs. Mohammed Shami first got the better of Mohammad Shahzad before Jasprit Bumrah dismissed Hazratullah Zazai. The two batsmen combined for just 13 runs.
Afghanistan: 17/2 after four overs.
Afghanistan begin run-chase with five runs off first over
With the required run rate at 10.55, Afghanistan get off the mark with five runs off the first over bowled by India's Mohammed Shami,
India, who have struggled to grab wickets with pace bowlers, look optimistic about their performance in tonight's fixture after a confident show with the bat.
AFG, meanwhile, will hope Mohammad Shahzad can hit top form in the powerplay overs.
Afghanistan 5/0 after 1 over
16 runs off the final over for India! Afghanistan to chase 211
After losing the toss and being put to bat first, it seemed as the script would continue for India's ongoing troubles in the T20 World Cup.
However, a 140-run partnership and half-tons for KL Rahul (69) and Rohit Sharma (74) see the Men in Blue register a score of 210/2 in 20 overs.
Not only is this the highest total in the T20 World Cup 2021, but India record their second-highest score for India in the competition.
Can Afghanistan play with the vigour they had against Scotland, or will they let their nerves get the better of them? Stay tuned to SportsAdda for coverage of the second half of the #INDvAFG match.