After the disappointments of defeat against Pakistan and New Zealand, team India bounced back with a resounding win against Afghanistan on Wednesday at the Dubai International Stadium. Batting first for a third time in this T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli’s side became the first team to cross the 200 run mark in the tournament, laying the foundation for a formidable win over their Asian counterparts.
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul started the carnage for the team in blue, as the duo added 140 runs for the first wicket, scoring at nearly ten an over. Sharma marginally outscored his partner in crime, getting 74 off just 47 balls to clinch the man of the match trophy. Nevertheless, Rahul’s performance too was classy as ever notched up an invaluable half century against a menacing Afghan bowling line-up.
The Punjab Kings skipper had been going through a bit of a rut in terms of his T20I form, having not got past 20 in any of his past five innings. However, he managed to brush all that aside as he took on the Afghani bowling line-up with great confidence and determination.
Rahul targeted the spinners right from the get go, getting a whopping six down the ground off Sharafuddin Ashraf in the second over of the game. He only pummelled Naveen-ul-Haq for a six over mid-wicket when the latter erred on length, as India got their best ever start to the powerplay in this World Cup.
The 29-year-old was unafraid of taking on Rashid Khan as well, hitting him for a couple of boundaries as he raced away to a half century in this game. Rahul scored six fours and two sixes in his innings to give India the perfect podium, before he was dismissed by Gulbadin Naib in the 17th over.
Shami finds his groove
Mohammed Shami has come under some criticism for his performances in the past two games, but he let the ball do the talking on Wednesday as he roared back with a stellar showing. The Punjab Kings pacer was the pick of the bowlers for his team, ending with figures of 3/32 to help India wrap up the game and ensure they got to a positive net run rate.
Shami claimed the very first wicket of the Afghanistan innings, sending back the dangerous Mohammad Shahzad in just his second over. He struck twice more at the death, accounting for the wickets of opposition skipper Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, to ensure India faced no hiccups this time around.
Shami and Rahul will hope to keep this form going as India now gear up for their next challenge against Scotland later this week.