Cricket World Cup T20: India Just Manage To Beat Spirited Afghanistan!
|Yuvraj Singh Takes Crucial Wickets!|
India struggled to beat Afghanistan in their first match of the ICC World Cup Twenty20 in Sri Lanka yesterday in Colombo. When finally they won by 23 runs it was not at all worthy of the current one-day Champions.
India huffed and puffed to 159 for the loss of five wickets in allotted 20 overs with the openers Gambhir and Sehwag failing again. The pitch could be a valid reason, because the Australia-Ireland match was played in the same track a little earlier. Just to exploit the wear and tear of the pitch Afghanistan must have decided to send India in after winning the toss. But equally important was the sheer pace of Afghan pacer Shapoor Jadran who accounted for the both the openers and the energy of a spirited Afghan team. The openers departed for just 22 runs on the board in the 5th over. Yuvraj Singh in his second major comeback match made 18 off 20 balls with one six. They could have reduced India to 79 for 5 if the catches were taken and fewer extras conceded. There was just a solitary half century by the ever dependable Virat Kohli in the Indian innings. Raina made a neat 38 and Dhoni added a quick-fire 18 off 9 balls to set a somewhat respectable target of 160 to win for Afghanistan.
Afghanistan started in a whirlwind fashion notching up 27 runs in the fourth over when Balaji struck for India. But the momentum was never lost though wickets started to fall at regular intervals and in the form of a gallant Mohammad Nabi (31) Afghanistan kept fighting to the end. Slow and spin bowling had the better of the Afghans as Yuvraj Singh exhibited his all-round abilities by capturing three wickets at a crucial juncture. The comeback medium pacer Balaji too came up with three wickets and R Ashwin got two scalps. Finally India just managed to win by 23 runs and the underdogs Afghanistan proved its point very emphatically to the cricketing world. The Scorecard:
Indian captain Dhoni would still be a worried man on his team’s batting and bowling against a qualifying team. India has almost ensured a place in the Super8, but they must set things right in the match against England on September 23 to get ready for the final stage. Man of the match Virat Kohli cannot be expected to come to the team’s rescue every time. Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan continue to be big worries too.
The results in ICC World Cup Twenty20 cricket tournament so far: * On the first day that is September 18 hosts Sri Lanka crushed Zimbabwe by 92 runs riding on the incredible performance of spinner Ajantah Mendis who created T20 history by capturing 6 wickets for 8 runs in 4 overs. Scores: SL 182/4 and Zimbabwe 100 all out in 17.3 overs. * On September 19 Australia registered an easy win on qualifying Ireland by 7 wickets. Scores: Ireland 23/7 & Australia 125/3 in 15.1 overs.