Southampton [UK]: Afghanistan displayed a spirited bowling performance as they restricted India to 224 runs for the loss of eight wickets in their ongoing match in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground in Southampton on Saturday.
Earlier, India had won the toss and they opted to bat first. Openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul failed to provide a steady start at the top as Sharma (1) was bowled through the gate by spinner Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman in the fifth over. Skipper Virat Kohli joined Rahul and the duo ensured the team does not suffer more damage in the opening ten overs. Both batsmen mixed caution with aggression to keep the scoreboard moving.
Rahul (30) was dismissed in the 15th over by Mohammad Nabi and this ended the 57-run stand between Rahul and Kohli. Rahul looked to play a reverse sweep, but he miscued it straight to the short third man. Kohli, however, kept marching on and he brought up his half-century in the 22nd over, registering his third consecutive fifty-plus score in this World Cup.
Vijay Shankar who came out to bat at number four, once again failed to convert his start into a big score. Shankar (29) was dismissed by Rahmat Shah. India faced a major setback as the set Kohli (67) was sent back to the pavilion by experienced campaigner Mohammad Nabi, leaving the Men in Blue in a spot of bother at 135/4 in the 31st over.
MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav retrieved the innings for India as they played cautiously against the spinners. Soon after, they targeted the right bowlers and pressed on the accelerator. Rashid Khan had a golden chance to run-out Jadhav in the 45th over, but he made a hash of it, giving India a reprieve.
However, Dhoni (28) was dismissed immediately by Rashid. The wicket-keeper batsman looked to play a big shot, but he ended up missing the ball completely and he was stumped by Afghanistan wicket-keeper Ikram Alikhil. Dhoni was stumped just for the second time in his entire career.
Hardik Pandya (7) failed to do anything of substance as he was dismissed in the penultimate over. India lacked firepower in the final overs as Jadhav (52) was also sent back to the pavilion and as a result, the team was restricted to under 230 runs.
Kohli was the top-scorer for India as he scored 67 runs whereas Nabi and Gulbadin Naib scalped two wickets each for Afghanistan.