After recording three convincing victories, the star-studded Indian batting line-up were put to a tough examination in the first half of their fifth match in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019 against Afghanistan at The Rose Bowl, Southampton. The Afghan spin troika of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman displayed brilliant efforts to restrict India within a pretty modest first innings total. The Indian batters struggled on a two-paced wicket that had enough assistance for the bowlers.
Mujeeb strikes Rohit Sharma early
Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first because he reckoned that it looks like a really good wicket to bat on. However, the Indian skipper’s plans received a body blow quite early as their in-form opening batsman Rohit Sharma was sent back to the pavilion in just the fifth over of the innings. Afghanistan off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman bowled a beautiful delivery to get rid of the dangerous Indian opener. The duo comprising of KL Rahul and skipper Virat Kohli then joined hands to bail their team out of the troublesome situation.
They tackled the opening spells of the Afghanistan bowlers really nicely to stitch a fine partnership of 57 runs for the second wicket. After getting well set, Rahul once again threw his wicket away, getting dismissed for a 53-ball 30 off a delivery bowled by Mohammad Nabi. However, even after losing his partner, Kohli continued to play his natural game, notching up his third half-century of the tournament.
Afghan Spinners increases the problems for India
Vijay Shankar got the chance at the number four position to prove his potential on the big stage, but he fell after scoring 29 runs. Just after Shankar’s dismissal, Nabi increased the problems for India by plucking out the prized scalp of Virat Kohli, leaving the opposition in a spot of bother at 135 for 4. The pair of MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav then resurrected the Indian innings with a stand of 57 runs, but both of them batted quite tentatively. Their approach looked quite questionable as they never even tried to go after the Afghanistan bowlers. The spin troika of Rashid, Nabi and Mujeeb bowled really well to keep them in check.
Rashid then bowled very well to get the better of MS Dhoni, who played a very strange innings of 28 runs off 52 balls. Just when it looked like both Jadhav and Dhoni attempted to up the ante, the latter got out. After Dhoni’s dismissal, Jadhav did play some attacking shots and scored his first half-century of the competition. Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib bowled a brilliant last over to dismiss both Jadhav and Mohammed Shami and this restricted India to 224 for 8 in 50 overs.
For Afghanistan, the duo of Naib and Nabi finished with two wickets each, while the rest of the bowlers picked up a scalp each.
India 224/8 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli-67, Kedar Jadhav- 52; Mohammad Nabi 2/33, Gulbadin Naib 2/51) vs Afghanistan.