Ind vs Afg | Rohit’s swashbuckling century makes easy work of Afghanistan

The Men in Blue chase down the Afghan outfit’s 272, with 15 overs to spare, on the back of the skipper’s 84-ball 131; Kishan, Kohli prove ideal foil; Bumrah shines with a four-wicket haul; Shahidi and Azmatullah score half-centuries

October 11, 2023 02:24 pm | Updated November 14, 2023 11:49 am IST - New Delhi

Indian captain Rohit Sharma celebrates after scoring a century against Afghanistan during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Match at the Arun Jaitley Cricket Stadium in New Delhi on October 11, 2023

Indian captain Rohit Sharma celebrates after scoring a century against Afghanistan during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Match at the Arun Jaitley Cricket Stadium in New Delhi on October 11, 2023 | Photo Credit: RV Moorthy

Rohit Sharma’s incandescent shots lit up the Delhi skies as India cantered to an eight-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the World Cup match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium here on Wednesday.

The skipper’s 131 (84b, 16x4, 5x6) was the foundation from which the Men in Blue leapt past Afghanistan’s 272 for eight as India finished with 273 for two in 35 overs.

India sped away from the starting blocks as Rohit unfurled his full bouquet of strokes while Ishan Kishan played second-fiddle.

A flick for four off Fazalhaq Farooqi whetted Rohit’s appetite and then the aesthetic dismantling of the Afghanistan attack commenced.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman was pulled and the six-four duopoly was unveiled against Naveen-ul-Haq, Farooqi and Azmatullah Omarzai.

Rohit raced to his 50 off 30 deliveries. Kishan then swept and lofted Mohammad Nabi.

Even when Rashid Khan was introduced, the Indian openers remained comfortable and with that Afghanistan’s spin threat was nullified.

Also read |India vs Afghanistan Highlights

Gliding to the landmark

A glide for four past third-man off Nabi followed by a single ushered in Rohit’s 100 off a mere 63 balls.

The helmet was removed, the head swivelled towards the skies and the upheld bat acknowledged the cheers of his team-mates and the fans.

The skipper and his ally posted 156 runs for the first wicket when Kishan spooned a catch off Rashid.

The crowd paused a bit and then shredded its vocal chords cheering for home boy Virat Kohli, who was all ease, the stylish four and the rapid single at the crease. Even after Rohit fell on the slog sweep to Rashid, getting castled, there was no stopping India’s victory march with Virat (55 n.o.) and Shreyas Iyer cruising smooth.

Earlier in the afternoon, Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi won the toss and elected to bat. Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran seemed at ease and it helped that Mohammed Siraj’s radar was a bit awry. Ibrahim drove and flickedx, and Gurbaz cover drove with elan.

The batter then slashed Jasprit Bumrah for four but the speedster had his vengeance, inducing an edge.

Freeing his arms

When Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur bowled, the latter having replaced R. Ashwin in the playing eleven, Gurbaz freed his arms, a punch and a lofted six ensued. The aggrieved bowlers then combined well to dismiss the batter.

Hardik dug in short, Gurbaz hooked, Shardul, stationed at fine-leg, was off-balance but caught the ball, threw it in the air, crossed the rope, leapt back in and caught again. Later Shardul scalped Rahmat Shah.

At 63 for three in 13.1 overs, Afghanistan needed a stabilising partnership while India pressed spin into service through Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja.

Shahidi and Azmatullah farmed the strike before the latter finally broke loose against the tweakers.

When the seamers got back, Shahidi slashed and square-drove while Azmatullah picked the midwicket fence.

The two added 121 for the fourth wicket when Hardik castled Azmatullah (62) and later Kuldeep trapped Shahidi (80).

India wrested the initiative and kept it that way for the rest of the night with Rohit being the brightest star.

Brief Score:

Afghanistan: 272 for 8 in 50 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi 80, Azmatullah Omarzai 62; Jasprit Bumrah 4/39).

India: 273 for 2 in 35 overs (Rohit Sharma 131, Virat Kohli 55 not out, Ishan Kishan 47; Rashid Khan 2/57).

Lineups:

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Lokesh Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi

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