Summary: Bhuvneshwar, Kohli dazzle in India’s 101-run win
It was a one-sided affair all the way, with India running away to a 101-run victory over Afghanistan in their final Super 4 game in the DP World Asia Cup at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday (September 8).
After Virat Kohli's ton gave India a mammoth total, veteran pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar demolished the Afghanistan top order to finish with career-best figures of five wickets for four runs. Afghanistan never recovered from that and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. A battling knock by Ibrahim Zadran, who came at the fall of the first wicket in the fifth ball of the first over, remained unbeaten at the end, scoring 60 runs in a total of 111 for eight.
After a disappointing end to their campaign, defending champions India have something to cheer about with Kohli and Bhuvneshwar dazzling in the final game of the Asia Cup 2022. This confidence will help the team ahead of the World Cup in Australia.
India beat Afghanistan by 101 runs
Afghanistan scored 111/8 in reply to India’s total of 212/2. Ibrahim Zadran, who did not have the best of the day after having dropped Kohli early in the innings, stood among the ruins to score a half-century. The right-hander scored two sixes off the last over bowled by Dinesh Karthik to take his team past the 100-run mark. After 20 overs, Afghanistan finished 111 for 8, giving India a 101-run win.
Bhuvneshwar finishes with career-best figures
The match is as good as over. Afghanistan seemed to have thrown in the towel after being six down for a paltry 36 at the halfway stage. Veteran pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has claimed five of those wickets to finish with his career-best figures of 5 for 4 in his four overs. It could be a good batting experience for Ibrahim Zadran against another potent attack.
Afghanistan in deep trouble
Afghanistan looked like a spent force after a tough game against Pakistan. Their bowling lacked the usual bite, and several dropped catches cost them big runs. In batting. they found the wily Bhuvneshwar Kumar too hot to handle, losing four wickets to the pacer in his first two overs. The Afghan players must have been drained after the Pakistan match the previous day, and it showed. After five overs, Afghanistan are 19 for 4 with Ibrahim Zadran and skipper Mohammad Nabi keeping things quiet.
Midway report: Kohli’s century gives India a mammoth score
Virat Kohli made this inconsequential Super 4 match into a memorable one by scoring his first Twenty20 International century, which also ended 1,020 days without a ton for the star batter. Put to bat, India scored 212 for two in 20 overs, a tough score to chase.
Kohli regained his confidence after scoring two half-centuries in the earlier games, yet he was not in the zone, where he operates on his own terms. Promoted to the opening slot against Afghanistan, Kohli took his time to get into his groove but had a reprieve on 28, when Ibrahim Zadran dropped him on the deep midwicket boundary.
Kohli made the lapse count and inched his way to his 70s with a calculated assault, and once he entered the 80s, the Indian batter with 70 international centuries found an extra gear to race to his maiden T20I century. After reaching his 100, Kohli went into overdrive to remain unbeaten on 122 off 61 balls, the final 16 balls yielding 45 runs from his blade.
Stand-in skipper KL Rahul played his trademark shots for a 41-ball 62. It should be a stroll for India unless the Afghanistan batters go hard at the bowlers
Kohli ends his century drought in 53 balls
King Kohli broke his 34-month century drought by easing to his maiden Twenty20 Internation ton in 53 balls. The laugh and the bow after reaching the milestone said a lot. Kohli remained unbeaten on 122 (61 balls) as India finished at 212/2 in 20 overs.
Kohli moves closer to his maiden T20 century
King Kohli has 70 international centuries to his credit so far, but none in Twenty20 with 94 not out being the highest. But the star batter moves into the 80s and now eyes his maiden century in Twenty20 internationals. Only 15 balls remain and now Kohli needs another 17, will he? It is possible for Kohli to reach his century.
Twin wickets put brakes on India’s progress
Losing wickets in pairs have become the bane of India in the Asian Cup. Rahul and Suryakumar were dismissed in the 13th over. India have managed just 20 runs in three overs, which is becoming a problem in the middle overs. Kohli is still continuing to strike at a good pace. After 16 overs, India are 145 for two.
Kohli and Rahul reach half-centuries
Both openers have now shifted gears after crossing their half-centuries. For Kohli, this is his third 50 in the current Asia Cup and 53rd of his T20 career. The match is slowly slipping away from Afghanistan, and the wicket is not assisting the dreaded spin attack.
Against the run of play, Afghanistan tasted success when skipper Rahul is caught at long on for 62 after a 119-run partnership for the opening wicket. Suryakumar Yadav followed soon after hitting a six off the first ball he faced.
Cautious start by India openers Rahul and Kohli
Indian openers KL Rahul and Virat Kohli have started on a cautious note and the former Indian skipper Kohli is now finding his range of strokes, getting more comfortable with time in the middle.
It’s also important for Rahul to get a big score. After having done the hard work, the stand-in Indian skipper has to make this knock count and get ready for the World Cup. The wicket has now eased a bit and gives a perfect launchpad for both the openers. After 10 overs, India are 87 for no loss with Kohli on 44 and Rahul on 42.
The toss and the teams
Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi wins the toss and elects to bowl first
India have rested skipper Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul will lead the side in his absence. India have made three changes: Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal and Sharma are not playing, while Axar Patel, Deepak Chahar and Dinesh Karthik come into the side. Afghanistan have retained the same team that lost narrowly against Pakistan.
IndiaI: KL Rahul (captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant (WK), Deepak Hooda, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar, Axar Patel.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (captain), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ibrahim Zadran, Karim Janat, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Fareed Ahmad Malik Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Preview: Afghan bowling will test Indian batters
Dubai: Indian coach Rahul Dravid had said during the DP World Asia Cup that the defending champions are not in the UAE to experiment and are keen to retain the continental showpiece. However, after their ouster following two losses in the Super 4 stage, today’s clash against Afghanistan gives the Team India an opportunity to test their reserve strength and experiment.
India have been forced to make two changes, the knee injury to Ravindra Jadeja, who scored a half-century against Pakistan in the opener, and Avesh Khan, who is ill. Deepak Chahar has replaced Avesh Khan and could play in the final Super 4 clash at the Dubai International Stadium.
However, India need to be wary of Afghanistan, who lost the match by a whisker against Pakistan after a close encounter at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. The Afghan bowling excelled again, showing its potency and it will pose a big threat to the fragile Indian middle order.
The biggest problem for India has been losing wickets in pairs and the lack of runs from the middle order. Rohit Sharma’s men will be eager to bow out on a high, so expect them to come out blazing all cylinders. That will make for a good contest between Afghanistan bowlers and the Indian batting.