Twitter Reactions: Vintage India thump Afghanistan to stay alive in semi-finals race

India won the game by 66 runs as Afghanistan could only score 144 runs chasing 211.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

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Team India has finally got on the board in the ongoing T20 World Cup. One may feel that they arrived at the mega event a couple of days late but they showed their potential on the day thrashing Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi. It was a near perfect day at the office for India with their batters smashing the highest team total and the first 200+ score in this edition of the World Cup and then bowlers doing their job nicely.

Earlier, Virat Kohli lost the third consecutive toss and India, under extreme pressure, found themselves batting first yet again. It was surprising to see Afghanistan go against their template to bat first and set a total most probably to put the opposition under pressure who failed to put big runs on the board in its first two matches. However, what happened in the next 20 overs was carnage.

KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma started the innings cautiously but soon made their intentions clear. The latter especially was at his best even as his partner took some time to come in full flow. The duo took apart the Afghanistan bowlers at will and soon one felt if Nabi and his men should’ve stuck to their bat first approach. India went past the 50-run mark in the powerplay itself for the first time in three matches.

The middle-overs, their achilles heel in the tournament so far, arrived and only 39 runs in the next five overs left fans worrying. However, India had all their wickets intact and after the drinks break, both Rohit and Rahul cut loose to leave Afghanistan bowlers clueless. It was carnage in the middle as the duo added 140 runs for the opening wicket in less than 15 overs.

Rohit Sharma had a good chance to score a century but Karim Janat dismissed him for 74 which came off just 47 balls with eight fours and three sixes. A couple of quiet overs followed and Rahul also followed his partner in the 17th over with 150 runs not posted on the board yet. Well, the worse was yet to come for Afghanistan as the duo of Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya finally found their mojo with the platform set to unleash themselves.

Both showcased some excellent power-hitting in the death overs to stitch a huge 63 runs in last 21 balls to propel India to 210 runs for the loss of only two wickets in their 2o overs.

Afghanistan swing hard but fall short by a huge margin

The chase was never going to be easy for Afghanistan with a fired-up Indian bowling desperate to do well. That is what was on show as Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah nipped out both openers, Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad respectively. Rahmanullah Gurbaz was welcomed with a fiery bouncer that hit his helmet but the youngster showed his hitting range taking on Shami for 21 runs in a single over.

He raced off to 19 runs off 10 balls and the quick-fire 35-run stand between him and Gulbadin Naib for the third wicket was the only time Afghanistan looked to threaten in the chase. Wickets kept coming in the rest of the chase even as Ravi Ashwin enjoyed his T20I comeback picking up his first wickets in five years. He ended with 2/14 in his four overs while the rest of the bowlers also did their bit to restrict Afghanistan.

They ended with only 144 runs with the loss of seven wickets in their 20 overs losing the game by a big margin of 66 runs which has now brought India’s NRR into positive keeping their hopes alive.

Here’s how Twitter reacted: