Thursday, 6 March 2014 00:50
ESPNCricinfo: Afghanistan’s batting, apart from a match-winning partnership against Bangladesh, has been ordinary, particularly against spin. In a dead rubber against India and in what was also their last chance to make an impression on this trip, Afghanistan’s batsmen collapsed at the first sighting of turn. Ravindra Jadeja picked up two wickets in his first over, and then added two more to run through a middle order that was clueless against India’s spin trio.
The three of them - Jadeja, Amit Mishra and R Ashwin - bowled unchanged from the 12th over until the 36th with combined figures of 25-3-73-7 during that period. Was it not for another Samiullah Shenwari riposte, Afghanistan could have folded well inside 50 overs.
Batting at No 8, Shenwari brought up his second half-century of the tournament and added 64 runs with the last three batsmen to avoid a capitulation. He farmed the strike, took vital runs off India’s seamers during the Powerplay and despite appearing in trouble against the spinners, he was prepared to attack the loose deliveries. On a day when boundaries were hard to come by, he hit six fours and a six to take Afghanistan past 150.
The Indian team management had decided not to tinker with their playing XI, which meant there was still no place for Cheteshwar Pujara or Ishwar Pandey, the only two in the touring party not to get a game. Kohli, at the toss, mentioned it was important to be patient with the team. But contrary to that logic, they asked Ajinkya Rahane to open the innings with Shikhar Dhawan, instead of Rohit Sharma. The captain, though, couldn’t have asked for more as the openers added 121 runs to set up the chase that India completed in the 33rd over.
Chief Scores: India 160 for 2 (Dhawan 60, Rahane 56) beat Afghanistan 159 (Shenwari 50, Jadeja 4-30, Ashwin 3-31) by eight wickets
We tell Afridi, give yourself 20-25 balls: Misbah See P19