India's opening match agaisnt Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup was expected to be a cakewalk for them but eventually it turned out to be a close affair. The men in blue had to slog hard for their 23 runs victory and they will have lot of things to ponder over before they take on the defending champions England in tjhe next match.
India were put in to bat and the Indian openers were expected to find form against the minnows, However that didn’t happen as the Afghanistan bowlers bowled at a good line and never got over-odd by the situation. Indian batsmen could never break free and ended with the total of 159.
In reply, Afghanistan got off to a decent start. Their opening batsmen came out with a positive mind-frame and thrived on every opportunity that the Indian bowlers provided them. However, the introduction of spin led to the downfall of the Afghans. The best thing about Afghanistan batting was the tempo they maintained throughout their innings, they were always in the game and should take a lot of heart from this performance.
Both innings saw some good performances and some pretty ordinary ones. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Virat Kohli: Kohli once again stole the show. He was brilliant with the bat once again and played an important innings in a pressure situation. Kohli is playing match winning knocks innings after innings and it seems that his dream run will never end.
Yuvraj Singh: He couldn't do much with the bat, but with the ball he was the star. He picked up a wicket with his first delivery and never
looked back from there. In his second spell, he took the wicket of dangerous looking Sadiq and picked up the wicket of Stanikzai the very next ball.
R Ashwin: He has been India’s best bowler in recent times and he once again showed his worth. He was always going to be a difficult bowler for the inexperienced Afghans. Ashwin picked up the most important wicket of Mohammad Nabi and only conceded 20 runs from his four overs.
Gautam Gambhir: Gambhir desperately needed runs in this match, but he missed a golden opportunity. The lack of footwork cost once again
proved fatal for him as he dragged the delivery back onto the stumps. It is high time he starts scoring some runs for India.
Virender Sehwag: Sehwag is very lucky to be in the Indian team with the form that he is in. Yes, he has been a great player for India in the past but he sure isn’t playing like one. Once again, Sehwag looked out of sorts and was lucky to even score eight runs.
Zaheer Khan: He once again was a disappointment, somehow the senior players in the Indian side are the ones who are not performing at all from the past few matches. Zaheer looked completely out of sorts and conceded runs at an economy rate of over 10.
Mohammad Nabi: He is highly rated in the Afghan camp and he showed why. First of all, he was very good with the ball, picking up the wicket of Suresh Raina after dropping him once on his own bowling. He bowled the death overs and even then came up with a respectable figure. With the bat, he was the best batsmen from Afghanistan. He scored 31 runs of just 17 balls and hit two sixes and two fours in his innings.
Shapoor Zadran: The tall left-arm fast bowler did all the damage with the new ball. He was very aggressive in his first spell and picked up the wickets of Sehwag and Gambhir. He was taken for runs in his final overs but it still was a match that he will remember for a long time.
Dawlat Zadran: Against a strong Indian batting line-up, he gave away only 25 runs in his four overs and that proves how good he was in the match. On top of that he picked up the most important wicket of Virat Kohli.
Catching: This was the let-down from the Afghans in this match. Their ground fielding was good but their catching was horrendous. They dropped a lot of catches and that in the end proved costly for them.
By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News