India have run riot in the Sheikh Zayed Stadium against Afghanistan to keep their hopes alive for the semi-final berth for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021.
In their third game of the mega event, India put up a whopping 210/2.
Afghanistan could only manage 144/7 to lose the contest by 66 runs.
After losing to Pakistan and New Zealand, India desperately needed this win to get two points in the bag.
They will now face Scotland and Namibia next.
Sharma makes it big
It’s been a long while since Indian fans had seen Rohit Sharma give the team a good start in T20 World Cups.
The Hitman made the dream come true tonight as he struck a 47-ball 74 to win the Man of the Match award.
His century stand with KL Rahul (69) meant that a big total was on its way for the tournament’s hosts.
This was Sharma’s first half-century in a T20 World Cup since the 2014 competition.
His knock tonight proved why his presence in the top order is so significant for India to capitalize in the powerplays.
Sharma said that he and Rahul intentionally went all guns blazing from the beginning of the first half.
“We wanted to get off to a good start which didn’t happen in the first two games. There was a conscious effort to lay a good platform for the other batters to express themselves later,” the Hitman said.
“A good start and a respectable total were very important from our side. We knew run rate could come into play and we wanted to win by a good margin, glad that we did that. Whatever the team requires, I’ll try to do that.”
Janat shows all-round class
Karim Janat stood head and shoulders above other Afghanistan batters tonight.
First, he took Rohit Sharma in the only over he bowled, then he scored a quickfire 42* off 22 to give his side a chance during the run chase.
He struck two sixes and three fours in a jiffy at a strike rate of over 190.
Janat’s exquisite power-hitting throughout the tournament has proved that Afghanistan have a rising star in their team.
He was Afghanistan’s top scorer tonight followed by captain Mohammad Nabi, who scored 35 off 32 before Mohammad Shami dismissed him.
India exploit death overs
After a long while, India’s death-over specialist batters shined.
Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant made the Afghanistan bowlers pay for their bad lengths.
Pandya starred for his 13-ball 35* that included a sitter that was dropped by Afghanistan.
Pant made 27 off 13 with three sixes and a four.
With both Indian batters back in form, skipper Virat Kohli must be glad to have all the batters clicking before they take on other members of Group B.
“Much better wicket as well, to be fair. In the other two games as well, if we just had two overs of that free-flowing batting capability, that could have sent the message to the opposition that we’ve put them under pressure,” the Indian skipper said after winning his first game in this tournament.
India 210 for 2 (Rohit 74, Rahul 69) beat Afghanistan 144 for 7 (Janat 42*, Nabi 35, Shami 3-32, Ashwin 2-14) by 66 runs