After two back to back defeats, there is finally something for the Indian fans to cheer as India defeated Afghanistan by 66 runs to keep their hopes alive for the semi-finals. Afghanistan had been pretty impressive in the tournament so far but against a wounded India, they had no answers. The Men in Blue dominated the game from ball one and didn’t give Afghanistan any chance in the match.
Virat Kohli’s hard luck with the toss continued as Nabi called the coin right and asked India to bat. Indian openers had been poor in the previous two games but on a slightly better wicket, everything they tried came off. KL Rahul (68 off 48) and Rohit Sharma (74 off 47) dismantled the Afghanistan attack and added 140 runs for the first wicket. The duo departed in quick succession but that didn’t have any negative effect on the rate at which India were scoring runs, with Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya taking full toll of the Afghanistan bowling. The pair added 63 runs in just 21 balls to help India post a mammoth 210-2.
The chase was very unlikely but Afghanistan openers had been in fine form. However, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah bowled a fiery opening spell, picking up a wicket each. Rahmanullah Gurbaz played a few shots but once the powerplay was over, Indian bowlers choked Afghanistan for runs, restricting them to 144-7.
The win is massive for India as it has bettered their net run rate as well. However, that alone won’t help India to qualify for the semifinals as they will need either Namibia or Afghanistan to beat New Zealand.