Rohit and Rahul pulverise Afghanistan

The two add 140 for the opening wicket as India piles up 210 and wins by a big margin.

Updated - November 05, 2021 07:25 am IST

Published - November 03, 2021 07:31 pm IST - Abu Dhabi

While they would still have to bear the criticism of having flattered to deceive against Pakistan and New Zealand, Rohit Sharma (74 off 47 balls) and KL Rahul (69 off 48 balls) made a mockery of Afghanistan's inexperienced attack.

While they would still have to bear the criticism of having flattered to deceive against Pakistan and New Zealand, Rohit Sharma (74 off 47 balls) and KL Rahul (69 off 48 balls) made a mockery of Afghanistan's inexperienced attack.

Virat Kohli lost the toss for the third straight time and India was asked to bat first yet again. However, those were the only similarities from the two previous games as the batters went ballistic and notched up the highest total of the edition — 210 — in the Group 2 Super 12 match against Afghanistan on Wednesday. In reply, Afghanistan was restricted to 144, giving India its first win of the competition.

The change of venue — despite the long boundaries at the Zayed Cricket Stadium — seemed to have worked in India’s favour as Rohit Sharma (74, 47b, 8x4, 3x6) and K.L. Rahul (69, 48b, 6x4, 2x6) bulldozed the spirited Afghan attack. The reunion at the top worked wonders as the duo’s 140-run stand set up the foundation for a massive total. Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya’s lusty blows meant India crossed the 200-run mark.

Afghanistan was never in the chase. Skipper Mohammad Nabi (35) and Karim Janat (42 not out) were involved in a 57-run partnership for the sixth wicket. Mohammed Shami finished with three for 32 while R. Ashwin, playing in India blue colours after four years, spun a web around the Afghan batters to return excellent figures of 4-0-14-2.

Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav, who recovered from back spasm, replaced Ishan Kishan in the XI and paved the way for the first-choice opening combination of Rohit and Rahul to be restored. With the team in a must-win situation in its remaining three games, and that too by huge margins, it needed a blazing start.

In contrast to their approach in the first two games, Rohit and Rahul went after the Afghanistan bowlers right from the word go. The moment Rohit lofted off-spinner Nabi over cover for a four in the opening over, it was clear that he meant business. Rohit showed his ability to clear the field with panache and even played the odd nudge past the wicketkeeper which sped to the fence. With Rohit playing the big shots, Rahul joined the party and the two took the team past the 100-run mark in the 12th over.

Rohit then took on Rashid Khan, arguably the best T20 bowler, tonking the leggie for successive sixes in the 14th over. He was dismissed when he mistimed a shot off medium-pacer Janat in the 15th over while Rahul’s attempt to clear short fine-leg led to his downfall soon after. Off the next 21 balls, Pant (27 n.o., 13b, 1x4, 3x6) and Hardik (35 n.o., 13b, 4x4, 2x6) showcased their big-hitting prowess, piling on 63. The total proved too steep for Afghanistan.


INDIA K.L. Rahul b Naib 69 (48b, 6x4, 2x6) , Rohit Sharma c Nabi b Janat 74 (47b, 8x4, 3x6) , Rishabh Pant (not out) 27 (13b, 1x4, 3x6) , Hardik Pandya (not out) 35 (13b, 4x4, 2x6) ; Extras (b-2, lb-1, w-1, nb-1): 5; Total (for two wkts. in 20 overs): 210.

FALL OF WICKETS 1-140 (Rohit, 14.4 overs), 2-147 (Rahul, 16.3).

AFGHANISTAN BOWLING Nabi 1-0-7-0, Sharafuddin 2-0-25-0, Naveen 4-0-59-0, Hamid 4-0-34-0, Naib 4-0-39-1, Rashid 4-0-36-0, Janat 1-0-7-1.

AFGHANISTAN Hazratullah Zazai c Shardul b Bumrah 13 (15b, 1x4, 1x6) , Mohammad Shahzad c Ashwin b Shami 0 (4b) , Rahmanullah Gurbaz c Hardik b Jadeja 19 (10b, 1x4, 2x6) , Gulbadin Naib lbw b Ashwin 18 (20b, 3x4) , Najibullah Zadran b Ashwin 11 (13b, 1x6) , Mohammad Nabi c Jadeja b Shami 35 (32b, 2x4, 1x6) , Karim Janat (not out) 42 (22b, 3x4, 2x6) , Rashid Khan c Hardik b Shami 0 (1b) , Sharafuddin Ashraf (not out) 2 (3b) ; Extras (w-4): 4; Total (for seven wkts in 20 overs): 144.

FALL OF WICKETS 1-13 (Shahzad, 2.6), 2-13 (Hazratullah, 3.1), 3-48 (Rahmanullah, 6.5), 4-59 (Naib, 9.3), 5-69 (Najibullah, 11.5), 6-126 (Nabi, 18.1), 7-127 (Rashid, 18.3).

INDIA BOWLING Shami 4-0-32-3, Bumrah 4-0-25-1, Hardik 2-0-23-0, Jadeja 3-0-19-1, Ashwin 4-0-14-2, Shardul 3-0-31-0.

Toss: Afghanistan.

MoM: Rohit Sharma.

India won by 66 runs.

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