India impress in Super 8s victory over Afghanistan

India impress in Super 8s victory over Afghanistan

India had Suryakumar Yadav to thank for a 47-run win against Afghanistan as they got the Group 1 action going in the Super Eights in Bridgetown.

After ten overs, India were 79/3 - having lost Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, and Virat Kohli.

But Yadav's partnership with Hardik Pandya got them back on an even keel, leading to a solid first-innings score of 181/8.

In their response, Afghanistan were bowled out for 134 - thanks in no small part to an exceptional spell from Jasprit Bumrah, who finished with figures of 3/7.

Afghanistan were hugely impressive in qualifying for the Super 8 stage, hammering New Zealand to set themselves on course for the next round and then seeing off Uganda and Papua New Guinea with ease to seal their spot in Group 1.

With a set of strengths that lend themselves to the Caribbean conditions, Afghanistan will be a major threat to the top-ranked nations throughout the remainder of the tournament, and first up was this meeting with India in Barbados.

Rohit Sharma’s side cruised through relatively comfortably from Group A, but played all of their matches in the USA and knew they needed to adjust quickly to the change of conditions in a game that may well define their Super Eight campaign.

India and Australia are the big favourites to progress to the Super Eight from this four-team group, but defeat here would have put that in serious doubt ahead of meetings with Bangladesh and the Aussies on Saturday and Monday respectively.

India made one change, with Kuldeep Yadav coming in for Mohammed Siraj. For Afghanistan, Hazratullah Zazai came in as a replacement for Karim Janat.

Rashid Khan was involved in all four wickets to fall in the first 11 overs. Captain Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 8 in the third over, caught by Rashid off the bowling of Fazalhaq Farooqi, and he was followed by Rishabh Pant at the end of the seventh over, lbw for 20.

The ever-dangerous Virat Kohli made 24 off as many balls before being caught by Mohammad Nabi off Rashid - leaving India on 75/3 after the first half of their innings.

And then Shivam Dube was Rashid's latest victim as the bowler called for a review of an lbw shout and was proved entirely correct with the ball in line to hit the top of middle and off stumps.

Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya then put on some fireworks. Suryakumar was as spectacular as ever, taking the lead with 53 off 28 balls, including five fours and three sixes, before mistiming another monumental heave off Farooqi into the hands of Nabi.

By the time he went, however, India were in the much more comfortable position of 150/5 thanks to that fourth-wicket partnership of 60 off 37 deliveries.

Hardik fell shortly afterwards, ending the 18th over with an end off Naveen-ul-Haq to the hands of Azmatullah Omarzai for a valuable 32.

And Ravindra Jadeja was caught by Gulbadin Naib off Farooqi in the penultimate over as he mistimed a short ball.

Axar Patel was the eighth and last to go, run out in the last ball of the innings as bowler Naveen raced him back to the stumps.

As Afghanistan began to muster their response, Bumrah impressed early on, tempting Rahmanullah Gurbaz into an edge which Pant was grateful to glove, and then deceiving Hazratullah Zazai with a wily cutter that leapt invitingly to Jadeja.

Axar Patel lured Ibrahim Zadran into a shot straight to the hands of Sharma for 8 - a wicket maiden for his opening over.

It combined to leave Afghanistan 23/3 in the fifth over.

Azmatullah Omarzai and Gulbadin Naib added a touch of stability before falling around the midway point - Naib to Kuldeep Yadav, caught once more by Pant, and Omarzai struggling with the turn from Jadeja, caught by Patel.

From there, the innings disintegrated. Bumrah got his third wicket in a delightful display by removing Najibullah Zadran with a terrific ball that stung the fingers of Arshdeep Singh, who courageously held on.

Nabi tried to push the run-rate on, hitting Kuldeep for six but then to the hands of Jadeja the very next ball.

Then Arshdeep was within tantalising grasp of a hat-trick, dismissing Rashid for 2 (caught by Jadeja again) and then Naveen for a duck, caught behind by Pant.

He did finish the innings in style, though, with Noor Ahmad holing him out in the very last ball to Sharma - meaning Afghanistan were all out for 134.