Afghans make India work hard for win

Afghanistan

Afghanistan were the best of the minnow sides to compete at the World Twenty20 thus far, doing better than Zimbabwe or Ireland despite losing by 23 runs against India in Colombo.

Afghanistan were the best of the minnow sides to compete at the World Twenty20 thus far, doing better than Zimbabwe or Ireland despite losing by 23 runs against India in Colombo.

India made 159 for five in their innings after being put in to bat, with Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina making sure the score looked decent after some good bowling by the Afghans.

The reply was an interesting one, and despite losing flurries of wickets, Afghanistan made sure the Indians had to focus on getting the win, all out for 136 in the final over.

The Indian innings was not a fluid one, and Shapoor Zadran was superb in his opening overs, removing both Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag to leave India on 22 for two. Kohli and Yuvraj Singh pushed the score to 68 before the latter went for 18, caught by an impressive Shapoor.

If Afghanistan hadn't dropped four catches, two of which were sitters off Kohli and Raina, the outcome could have been very different, and they will be gutted about a poor fielding display in the latter overs ruining what could have been a superb bowling effort.

The minnows looked assured when they came out to bat, and Mohammad Shahzad even gave Dhoni's patented 'helicopter shot' a try to great effect, before being dismissed for 18. Yuvraj went on a rampage at this point, taking three quick wickets to rip the heart out of the top order.

Ravi Ashwin and Lakshmi Balaji also contributed, despite getting tapped for some runs, with Mohammad Nabi and Karim Shafiq adding 31 and 26 respectively as they kept up with the run rate.

It was a few runs too far in the end though, those 14 wides coming back to haunt them, as Afghanistan gave up the ghost with three balls to go, Balaji taking his wicket tally up to three for the game.

Afghanistan: Sadiq, Stanikzai, Shahzad(w), Mangal(c), Nabi, Shafiq, Naib, Shenwari, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Najibullah Zadran

India: Gambhir, Sehwag, Virat, Yuvraj, Rohit, Raina, Dhoni(w/c), Irfan, Ashwin, Balaji, Zaheer

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