The first two games of the fourth T20 World Cup turned out to be completely one-sided with Sri Lanka and Australia easily winning their matches against Zimbabwe and Ireland, respectively. In the third game, nobody expected Afghanistan to meet the same fate. At least a good fight was anyboy’s guess considering their impressive performance and India’s poor bowling. That is what happened as India almost survived a scare winning in the last over by 23 overs.
During their last meeting in 2010 T20 World Cup, India defeated Afghanistan as easily as Australia sailed past Ireland today in the first match of the day. Yet in Sri Lanka, after being sent to bat by Afghani captain Nawroz Mangal, Indian performance was worrying for the first 15 overs.
Between both the innings there were many similarities. The openers in batting and bowling failed for India. The first 10 overs of both innings went to Afghanistan. Luckily for India the last 5 overs yielded almost 50 runs while batting and while bowling after 10 overs Ashwin, Yuvraj and Balaji helped India establish superiority over the Associate nation.
The openers, Sehwag and Gambhir continued their dismal performance. Even Yuvraj perished early. Afghanistan’s fielding deteriorated badly. They spilled more than 3 easy chances. The lives helped Kohli, Raina and Dhoni built over the inning and take India to a respectable total of 159/5.
When Afghanistan batted, first 8 overs belonged to their top order. Indian bowlers were hit all around the park. Zaheer had a forgettable 3 overs today. Irfan was again patchy. It was Balaji and then Ashwin and Yuvraj who got India back in the game with tight bowling and regular wickets.
Besides the tight bowling of Balaji and Ashwin, Yuvraj’s 12th over that fetched two very important wickets and then Ashwin’s triumph over Nabi in his last over were the most important phases for match turning into India’s favor.
For Afghanistan the dropped catches costed them the match, which was all the time theirs to win. Besides bowling, and then firework of Nabi the helicopter shot for boundary by Sadiq was the most interesting point.
Their bowling is threatening. If they get good support from fielders England may be in trouble.