Abu Dhabi: India managed to keep themselves alive in the semifinals race of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with a huge 66-run win over Afghanistan in a Group 2 match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday. After India’s batting rose to the occasion with a gigantic 210/2 in 20 overs, it was always an uphill mountain to climb for Afghanistan, who made 144/7 in their 20 overs.
Afghanistan lost openers Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai in the power-play. While Shahzad lobbed one to mid-off off Mohammed Shami for a three-ball duck on the last ball of third over, Zazai top-edged to short mid-wicket off Jasprit Bumrah on the first ball of the fourth over.
The fifth over by Shami went for 21 runs, with Gulbadin Naib taking a four while Rahmanullah Gurbaz smacked back-to-back sixes before finishing the over with a four. Naib struck Hardik Pandya for two fours to take Afghanistan to 47/2 in the first six overs.
Post power-play, Gurbaz went for another big hit but skied to Pandya at deep mid-wicket off Ravindra Jadeja. With Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin working in tandem, Afghanistan found it hard to break free. Ashwin got his first T20I wicket since 2016 by trapping Naib plumb lbw in front. Ashwin scalped his second wicket of the match in the 12th over as Najibullah Zadran tried to reverse sweep but was clean bowled.
Mohammad Nabi and Karim Janat stitched a 57-run partnership for the sixth wicket. But Shami came back in the 19th over to take out Nabi, holing out to deep mid-wicket. Two balls later, Shami had his third wicket of the match as Rashid Khan slogged straight to long-on. Karim Janat hit a six on the final ball of the innings but the match’s fate had been sealed long ago in India’s favour.
Brief Scores: India 210/2 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 74, KL Rahul 69, Karim Janat 1/7, Gulbadin Naib 1/39) beat Afghanistan 144/7 in 20 overs (Karim Janat 42 not out, Mohammad Nabi 35, Mohammed Shami 3/32, Ravichandran Ashwin 2/14) by 66 runs.