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Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya cuts a cake to celebrate his birthday before the start of the World Cup match against Afghanistan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Image Credit: AFP

New Delhi: India dropped off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and brought in seam-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur for their second match of the 50-overs World Cup against Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi won the toss and elected to bat on a hot afternoon at New Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium.

“We will bat first. It looks like a good batting surface,” Shahidi said.

Three-pronged spin attack

Ashwin was part of India’s three-pronged spin attack in Chennai where they beat five-time champions Australia in a low-scoring contest.

India are without opener Shubman Gill, who has been laid low by dengue fever, which kept him out of the match against Australia.

In his absence, Ishan Kishan will retain his place as skipper Rohit Sharma’s opening partner for the hosts.

Dew could play a big role

Rohit said they wanted to bat second anyway, considering how dew in the evening could make gripping the ball difficult in the second innings.

“It was a good game (against Australia) for us, hopefully, we can repeat that and keep the momentum going forward.”


Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi.

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.