India clinched an absorbing match vs. Afghanistan

India 5-159 (Virat Kohli 50, Suresh Raina 38, Shapoor Zadran 2-33) beat Afghanistan 136 (Mohammad Nabi 31, Karim Sadiq 26, Lakshmipathy Balaji 3-19) by 23 runs.

India won their first match of the ICC World Twenty20, vs. Afghanistan quite easily in the end by the sheer team work besides a tough fight given by the rivals.

India piled up 159 runs for the loss of five wickets in the allotted 20 overs and Afghanistan reached 136 before their innings was folded back in 19.3 overs.

Virat Kohli - A match winning knock of 50 runs
Virat Kohli – A match winning knock of 50 runs

Virat Kohli (India) was declared ‘Player of the match’ for his brilliant fifty in the demanding situation.

The 3rd match of the ICC Twenty20, 2012, was played on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.

Earlier, the captain of Afghanistan, Nawroz Mangal, won the toss and put India into bat. The Men in Blue started of casually and lost both their openers with 22 runs on board in 4.1 overs. The Afghanistan quick bowler, Shapoor Zadran struck twice early in the innings and claimed the wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag after they had scored 10 and 8 runs respectively.

The player in form, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh steadied the innings as the latter hit the first six of the innings in the fifth over. Kohli dispatched his first six in the 9th over as Yuvraj Singh was dropped at 17 by Mohammad Nabi on his own bowling in the 10th over. The third wicket contributed 46 runs in six overs when Yuvraj Singh was caught by Shapoor Zadran at short third man off Karim Sadiq for 18 runs.

Suresh Raina came in next and got a life when Mohammad Nabi dropped him at his own bowling again for just two runs on the second ball of the 12th over. The dismal ground fielding of Afghanistan continued as Virat Kohli was dropped next for 33 at wide long on by Samiullah Shenwari off Karim Sadiq. The run rate was escalated by both batsmen and they gathered 14 runs in the 14th over with 3 fours. Afghanistan dropped the fourth catch as Raina was let off at 19 runs on the last ball of the 15th over. Virat Kohli completed his 3rd T20 fifty on the third ball of the next over but was gone on the next ball for 50 off 39 balls with 2 sixes and 4 fours.

The fourth wicket fell at 114 as Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni kept on cruising while sending the ball out of the fence regularly. They added 34 runs in the total when Raina was clean bowled by Mohammad Nabi for 38 off 33 deliveries with 6 fours. Dhoni remained unbeaten for 18 as the Blue Shirts smashed 159 runs with five wickets in hand at the end of the 20th over.

Shapoor Zadran was the top wicket taker with two whereas Dawlat Zadran, Karim Sadiq and Mohammad Nabi shared one wicket each.

The innings of Afghanistan was opened by Mohammad Shahzad and Nawroz Mangal in a positive manner. The first scored three fours in the second and third over and the score was taken to 24 without losing any wicket. The first wicket fell at 26 when Mohammad Shahzad was caught by Yuvraj Singh off Lakshmipathy Balaji for 18 runs.

Karim Sadiq joined in next with Nawroz Mangal who hit the first six of the Afghanistan innings in the sixth over. The duo took the score to 52 in 7.1 overs when the latter was declared leg before wicket off Yuvraj Singh for 22 off 18 balls with 1 six and even four. Asghar Stanikzai dropped in the centre next as MS Dhoni missed a stumping chance offered by Karim Sadiq on the second ball of the 11th over.

The score board displayed 75 runs in 11.2 overs when Yuvraj singh claimed his second wicket by dismissing Karim Sadiq for 26 off even deliveries with three fours. Asghar Stanikzai was gone on the very next ball as the hat trick of Yuvrag Singh was averted by the new batsman, Samiullah Shenwari. Afghanistan was reeling at 5-76 when Mohammad Nabi and Shafiqullah put their heads down. They hit one six each in the 14th over off Yuvraj Singh and the hundred of the innings was attained in the 15th over.

Irfan Pathan provided the much needed breakthrough for the Men in Blue when Shafiqullah was gone for eight runs. Mohammad Nabi did not surrender and held the innings bravely with Gulbodin Naib. Mohammad Nabi punished Zaheer Khan for 15 runs in the 16th over comprising 1 six and i four but was caught by Rohit Sharma off Ravichandran Ashwin for 31 off 17 mere balls with 2 sixes and 2 fours. The tail was vanished by the Blue Shirts and the entire Afghanistan team was bowled out for 136 runs with three balls to spare.

Lakshmipathy Balaji and Yuvraj Singh were the supreme bowlers with three wickets each, Ravichandran Ashwin held two and Irfan Pathan claimed one wicket.

India won the match in a professional manner with a substantial margin of 23 runs and secured two important points.


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