ICC World Cup 2019: Match 28, India vs Afghanistan, Review – Men in Blue survive a major scare; Shami picks an unforgettable hat-trick

Mohammad Shami finished the game with a hat-trick, only the second Indian since Chetan Sharma to do so in a World Cup.

Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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After a pretty one-sided game against Pakistan, India managed to hold their nerves in a sensational last-over thriller against Afghanistan. No one would’ve given the Afghans a chance in this fixture, but their spinners’ brilliant execution followed by Mohammad Nabi’s exploits with the bat took the game into the final over, only to see India finish on the right side by a whisker.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, India got off to a catastrophic start as Mujeeb Ur Rahman castled Rohit Sharma’s stumps in the fifth over. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul kept the innings going beautifully after that amidst some smart batting. It seemed like they will carry the side to a total in excess of 280 despite the track being slow.

But Rahul tried to reverse sweep Nabi and threw his wicket away at a crucial juncture. Virat batted for some time alongside Vijay Shankar and completed his half-century. Shankar looked in good touch during his brief stay, but with his wicket, Afghanistan took complete control of the innings. Virat Kohli followed him soon having found the third man fielder in an attempt to cut the ball.

MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav never got going in the middle and their partnership saw the scoring rate slump a little bit. Dhoni’s usual ploy of starting slow and then accelerating didn’t work on the day as he was dismissed for a 52-ball 28, but Kedar Jadhav stood firm at the other end. He completed his fifty and helped India get to a respectable total despite minimum contribution from Hardik Pandya.

India finished with 224 runs for the loss of eight wickets. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi did a fabulous job with the ball, not to forget the five overs from Rahmat Shah. Spinners bowled 34 overs in this innings and clearly bossed the mighty Indian lineup.

Afghans take it down to the final over

Hazratullah Zazai was clearly struggling and Mohammed Shami ended his struggles in the middle by knocking his stumps. Rahmat Shah and Gulbadin Naib ensured no more wickets fell in the powerplay and they even targetted Hardik Pandya’s first two overs. Their partnership accounted for 44 runs and the pressure was beginning to mount on the Indians. Hardik Pandya eased some nerves by picking Naib’s wicket.

That didn’t affect the Afghans a lot as they got another promising partnership going with Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi negotiating with the bowlers brilliantly in the middle overs. Their partnership threatened to take the game away from India, but once again, it was Jasprit Bumrah doing the damage. He picked up both these set batsmen in the 29th over.

Asghar Afghan was the next victim of India’s outstanding bowling, as Yuzvendra Chahal tossed the cherry beautifully to rattle his stumps. Mohammad Nabi kept Afghanistan alive with a brilliant knock and despite the brilliance of Bumrah, the game went all the way down to the final over.

With 16 needed off the final over, Nabi raised the tension with a boundary on the first ball and also completed his fifty with that boundary. But he was caught at long-on the on the third ball, which virtually was the end of their chase. Shami then cleaned up Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s stumps in the next two balls to complete an unforgettable hat-trick only the second by an India in World Cup cricket. The Men in Blue survived a major scare, but Kohli will be proud of the way his bowlers responded.

Brief Scores

India: 224/8 in 50 overs (Kedar Jadhav 52, Virat Kohli 67; Mohammad Nabi 2/33)

Afghanistan: (Mohammad Nabi 52, Rahmat Shah 36; Jasprit Bumrah 2/39, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/36)

Result: India won by 11 runs

Man of the match: Jasprit Bumrah