Rohit (74) and Rahul (69) scored half centuries and Mohammad Shami took 3 wickets to help India beat Afghanistan by 66 runs to boost their NRR and climb up to the 4th in the table.
Earlier in the evening, Mohammad Nabi won the toss and put India into bat first. Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Kushal Lokesh Rahul started off brilliantly and shared 140 runs between them for the first wicket. This was their 4th 100-runs partnership in T20Is.
Rohit Sharma scored 74 runs off 46 deliveries, hitting 8 fours and 2 sixes, among which 2 were smashed back-to-back against Rashid Khan. Rohit was out as he smashed one straight to Mohammad Nabi at the short extra cover off Karim janat’s bowling. KL Rahul kept on smashing Afghan bowlers to all parts of the ground as he scored his 12th half century in the format, he scored a valuable 69 off 48 deliveries including 6 boundaries and 2 sixes. He was knocked over by a slower yorker from Gulbadin as he was trying to scoop one over the short third-man fielder.
Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya then kept on going all guns blazing as the duo shared 63 runs in just 21 deliveries between them to boost India’s total to 210. Hardik Pandya hit 2 sixes and 4 boundaries to score an unbeaten 35 off just 13 deliveries. He was supported very well by the left-hand wicket keeper batsman Rishabh Pant as he made 27 off 13 balls including 3 sixes and 1 four.
India made 210 runs and have lost only 2 wickets in their allotted 20 overs. For Afghanistan, the right arm medium pace duo of Karim Janat and Gulbadin Naib picked 1/7 off (1 over) and 1/39 off (4 overs) respectively. Afghanistan’s prime bowler Rashid Khan went wicketless and conceded 35 runs off his 4 overs quota, while Naveenulhaq was the most expensive bowler for Afghanistan, leaking a mammoth 59 runs in his 4 overs.
Hamid Hassan bowled an excellent first spell conceding only 6 runs in his first 2 overs but has given away 28 runs in his next two overs. Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan’s leading off spinner bowled only 1 over and did not bowl himself anymore in the inning.
In response of 210 by India, Afghanistan lost Mohammad Shahzad on the last ball of the third over for 0 (4) to a full delivery off Mohammad Shami as he wanted to flick one over square leg but got a leading edge straight up in the air, on the very next delivery, Hazratullah Zazai sliced a slower one from Bumrah to Mid-off and was sent back for 13 (15). Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Gulbadin Naib started to rebuild Afghanistan’s inning as both added 35 runs in 3.4 overs between them before Gurbaz holed out in the deep for 19 off 10 balls.
Gulbadin Naib and Najeebullah Zadran played some shots but didn’t stay long at the middle as they were reduced by the Indian off-spinner Ravi Ashwin for 18 and 11 runs respectively. Mohammad Nabi and Karim Kanat ticked around nicely and batted for 6.3 overs together sharing 57 runs for the 5th wicket.
Mohammad Nabi lost his wicket for 35 runs as he was trying to deposit one over deep mid-wicket but mis-hit one and was caught by Ravindra Jadeja. He got out for the first time in the tournament.
Afghanistan made 140 runs for 9 wickets in their 20 overs, with Karim Janat scoring an unbeaten 44. For India, Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled nicely as he picked up 2 wickets and conceded only 14 runs in his 4 overs. Pacer Jusprit Bumrah also bowled really well for team India as he removed Afghan opener Hazratullah and conceded 25 runs in his 4 overs. Mohammad Shami kept on bowling well against Afghanistan as he picked 3 wickets for 32 runs in his 4 overs to help India beat Afghanistan by 66 runs in their 3rd game.
Rohit Sharma, for his 74 runs off just 47 deliveries, was awarded as the player of the match. With this win, India took their net run rate from the negatives to the positives (+0.07) and are now placed above Namibia at 4th position in the group 2. Afghanistan to play their last match in Super 12s against the Kiwis on Sunday, while India will face Scotland this Friday in Dubai.