India v Afghanistan commentary

Last updated: 20th September 2012  

India v Afghanistan commentary

End of innings Afghanistan have lost to India, but they have done so with their honour and dignity intact. It's pointless to dwell on the 'what-ifs', but if Afghanistan had held their catches and hadn't bowled quite so many wides, they could have won this. India will be pleased with the win, but they've got plenty to mull over. The batting, Kohli aside, looked a little uninspired, while the bowling unit didn't look like worldbeaters. Afghanistan can take plenty of heart from their performance. They're a vastly improved side from the group that turned up at the last World Twenty20 two years ago. England beware!

Over 20 - Afg 136 Balaji torments Naib with the short ball, the batsman eventually splicing a slog to be caught in the covers. A pinpoint yorker rattles the stumps the very next ball, and the match is over.

Over 19 - Afg 136/8 (Naib 5, Shapoor 8) Pathan looks to close out the game as he keeps Naib quiet with a succession of short deliveries, but Shapoor keeps Afghanistan hoping with two clobbered fours off the last two balls. They need 24 from the last over ... It's not impossible.

Over 18 - Afg 126/8 (Naib 4, Shapoor 0) WICKET! Well, it looks like Najibullah can bat as he spanks Balaji to the cover boundary to get off the mark. It appears, however, that he's tweaked his hamstring in the process. He's hobbling around. There won't be too many sharp singles - not that that's what Afghanistan need right now. He's not allowed a runner. And indeed, now he's run out after backing up too far. Naib turned down the single, and Najibullah couldn't hobble back into time. It appeared for a moment that Balaji might've disturbed the stumps without the ball in his hand, but the decision goes against Afghanistan.

Over 17 - Afg 120/7 (Naib 3, Najibullah 0) WICKET! Nabi has fallen in the pursuit of glory, lifting Ashwin straight down long off's throat. Is that the match to India now? What sort of firepower to Afghanistan have down the order? Naib is meant to be an allrounder, while Najibullah didn't bowl so one hopes he can bat. A specialist batsman at No. 9?

Over 16 - Afg 116/6 (Nabi 30, Naib 1) Is this the over that could turn the match? Nabi is still fighting so hard for his team, and keeps them alive with two of the best shots you're likely to see in this tournament. Both fly up and over extra cover, the second comfortably clearing the rope. What. A. Shot. He then laps Khan to the fine leg bounday, and 16 runs flow from the over. This is going to be so tight.

Over 15 - Afg 100/6 (Nabi 15, Naib 0) WICKET! Asad Rauf triggers Shafiqullah after Pathan's lbw shout ... that looks a slightly tough decision. In fact, it's downright wrong. There was a massive inside edge on it. Nabi is still there, however, and as long as he is India will be slightly nervous.

Over 14 - Afg 93/5 (Nabi 9, Shafiqullah 8) Wow, Nabi has reinvigorated Afghanistan with a mighty, 96 metre blow down the ground. That was massive, the second biggest hit of the tournament so far. Shafiqullah, who's looked busy in his short innings, then follows up with an incredibly crouching, swiveling pull shot to add six more! I like the look of him. Afghanistan have nothing to lose now. They need 67 from 36. Do they believe? Do you?

Over 13 - Afg 80/5 (Nabi 2, Shafiqullah 2) WICKET! The wheels are coming off now. Shenwari presents Ashwin with the easiest of caught-and-bowled chances, and three wickets have now fallen in six deliveries. The fact that Nabi, who is probably their best batsman, remains will give them a sliver of hope, but one feels that India will maintain control from here. It's a huge task getting 10 an over without wickets in the bank. Incidentally, India would've been 80 for 5 at around the same point if Afghanistan had held their catches.

Over 12 - Afg 76/4 (Nabi 0, Shenwari 1) WICKETS! Yuvraj strikes again. Sadiq was trying desperately to break free, and aimed a big hit into the leg side. He didn't strike it well enough, however, and Gambhir settled under a regulation catch. The anonymous Stanikzai, who had a decent run in the warm-ups, then edges into Dhoni's gloves, and Yuvraj is on a hat-trick! Dhoni brings two slips in, but Shenwari is off the mark with a push to cover. Afghanistan aren't quite scuppered, but this will rattle them.

Over 11 - Afg 74/2 (Sadiq 26, Stanikzai 5) Dhoni misses a stumping! Sadiq gave Ashwin the charge and missed the ball completely as it was fired down the leg side, but Dhoni fumbled a difficult take to give the batsman a life. The bowler doesn't give much more away in the over, and the required rate edges up a little further.

Over 10 - Afg 69/2 (Sadiq 24, Stanikzai 3) Sadiq is playing a great little knock here, and slap-cuts Yuvraj behind point to move into the 20s with a boundary. The batsmen scramble through for a couple more, and seven runs come from the over, but the required rate is nudging up towards 10 an over and Afghanistan need to step up the tempo.

Over 9 - Afg 62/2 (Sadiq 19, Stanikzai 1) Sadiq sends Ashwin straight back down the ground with an astonishing one-handed swipe that brings him his second boundary. Ashwin then shows that Afghanistan's batsmen won't have it all their own way by completely flummoxing Stanikzai with a carrom ball that zips past the outside edge and just misses the off stump.

Over 8 - Afg 54/2 (Sadiq 12, Stanikzai 1) WICKET! Yuvraj strikes with his very first delivery, sliding one in to Mangal's pads to trap him lbw. Yuvraj's flight keeps the batsmen to just two from the over.

Over 7 - Afg 52/1 (Mangal 22, Sadiq 11) Surprisingly, Dhoni turns to Rohit Sharma's offspin and Afghanistan capitalise to take 10 from the over. Mangal is content to work the spinner around for singles, but Sadiq goes on the attack and clubs a four down the ground to bring up Afghanistan's fifty.

Over 6 - Afg 42/1 (Mangal 21, Sadiq 2) Balaji rattles Sadiq with the short ball, but the batsman manages to get off strike and Mangal strokes a couple through the covers. Afghanistan's captain then steps away to leg and heaves an almighty blow over deep square leg. That was a great hit.

Over 5 - Afg 33/1 (Mangal 12, Sadiq 1) A change of ends for Irfan Pathan, but Mangal keeps Afghanistan's chase ticking with a cracking drive through extra cover. Just six runs from the over, though, so the required rate creeps up.

Over 4 - Afg 26/1 (Mangal 7, Sadiq 0) WICKET! Balaji comes into the attack, and removes the buccaneering Shahzad. The batsman set himself for a wild slog into the leg side to a length delivery, but could only get the ball as far as a backpedalling mid on.

Over 3 - Afg 24/0 (Shahzad 17, Mangal 6) Helicopter shot! Dhoni is Shahzad's hero, and he's emulated his signature shot in fine style to smite Khan to the square leg boundary. Great hitting. He goes after the next ball too, and thick edge flies past slip and down the third man for the second boundary of the over.

Over 2 - Afg 11/0 (Shahzad 8, Mangal 2) Afghanistan are going to go down swinging! Or, at least Shahzad is as he hoicks Pathan out to wide long on for his first boundary. Pathan responds with a bouncer, but Afghanistan will be pleased to take seven from the over.

Over 1 - Afg 4/0 (Shahzad 2, Mangal 1) Shahzad opens the chase by flaying a full delivery up and over mid-off, the ball being pulled back just inside the ropes by Gambhir. That'll set the tone for the innings, I feel. A leg bye and nudged single from the much more circumspect Mangal make it four from the over.

End of innings Well, things might've turned out worse for Afghanistan, but they could have turned out much better too had they held onto their chances in the field. The Zadrans Dawlat and Shapoor were impressive with the new ball, and India were thankful for Kohli's aggressive fifty. Join us in ten minutes for the chase.

Over 20 - India 159/5 (Dhoni 18, Sharma 1) WICKET! Nabi doesn't start his over well, Raina bludgeoning a full toss for four into the leg side and the bowler then spearing down the 14th wide of the innings. He then scoots one under the advancing Raina's bat to bowl the left-hander for 38, but Dhoni tips the balance in India's favour with 10 runs from the final two deliveries.

Over 19 - India 143/4 (Raina 34, Dhoni 8) Dawlat had been one of Afghanistan's better bowlers today, but he stumbles through his final over and leaks 12 runs. Five of those come in wides as he sprays one down the leg side, while Dhoni also clubs his first boundary to midwicket.

Over 18 - India 131/4 (Raina 33, Dhoni 3) Raina looks set to finish things off nicely for India. He jumps down the track at Nabi and finds the boundary at deep midwicket as nine runs come from the over.

Over 17 - India 122/4 (Raina 28, Dhoni 1) Yet more comedy from Afghanistan in the field, as the cover sweeper dives over a Raina drive to give away four runs. What's more, he seems to have pulled his hamstring. There's almost a moment of alarm as Raina slams the last ball straight back at Dhoni, striking his captain on the thigh, but the incident is shrugged off with a smile.

Over 16 - India 115/4 (Raina 22, Dhoni 0) WICKET! Finally, they've held one. Dawlat came back into the attack, chaperoning Kohli to fifty ... but the Indian right-hander then attempted another of his lofted strokes down the ground. The execution wasn't quite right, Kohli slicing underneath the ball, and Nabi manages to cling on at long off. Sweet relief. Captain MS Dhoni ambles out to the middle. That's a great return by Dawlat, who keeps them to just four runs and now has 1 for 13 from three overs.

Over 15 - India 111/3 (Kohli 48, Raina 20) Another chance goes down! This is really going to deflate Afghanistan. Allrounder Samiullah Shenwari is brought on to bowl some loopy legspin, and Raina slices his first ball over backward point for four. Raina then jumps out at the final delivery, but a leading edge spirals up above the cover fielder, Izzat. He's on as a sub, and can barely get a hand to the chance. They're falling apart.

Over 14 - India 102/3 (Kohli 46, Raina 13) Shapoor comes back into the attack, but is spanked for fours by both Kohli and Raina. The left-handed Raina then flaps a full toss to deep midwicket to take India beyond 100. In between times, Shahzad has decided that the blow he took to the knee earlier has become to painful to tolerate, and leaves the field for treatment. Sadiq takes the wicketkeeper's gloves in his absence.

Over 13 - India 88/3 (Kohli 41, Raina 4) Another drop! Kohli this time. This will really hurt Afghanistan. The batsman stepped down the track and aimed a flat hit towards long-on. Shenwari got to the ball inside the rope, but it burst right through his fingers and went for six. He flings the ball back onto the field in disgust. Sadiq sinks to the ground. Afghanistan can't let their heads droop too much here. They've got to keep fighting.

Over 12 - India 75/3 (Kohli 29, Raina 3) Nabi drops another! Oh dear. This was a much easier chance. Raina drove the ball in the air straight back to him, but it slipped through his fingers - and his legs - and hit the turf. Nabi is livid with himself, and grumbles his way through the rest of the over. How costly could that missed chance be?

Over 11 - India 72/3 (Kohli 27, Raina 2) WICKET! Sadiq is the unlikely wicket-taker, as he fires down a quicker one outside off and Yuvraj's sliced cut flies straight to Shapoor at short third man. That'll certainly lift Afghanistan, and Sadiq hurries through the rest of the over, giving away just four singles. I wonder if Taj Malik, Sadiq's brother and one of the founders of Afghanistan's cricket team, is at the ground?

Over 10 - India 68/2 (Kohli 25, Yuvraj 18) MCC cricketer Mohammad Nabi comes on to twirl down his offbreaks, and he very nearly gets the breakthrough! Yuvraj gave him the charge but couldn't quite get to the pitch of the delivery, popping the drive back towards the bowler's outstretched hands ... Nabi got a hand to it, parrying the ball up Jonty Rhodes-style, but couldn't twist around quickly enough to hold onto the rebound. He does fire a throw at the non-striker's stumps though, and had he hit Kohli would've been out. He then rather ruins the over by spearing down three leg-side wides ...

Over 9 - India 60/2 (Kohli 23, Yuvraj 16) Mangal operates his bowlers in two-over spells as Sadiq gets a second. The Kohli show continues as he skips down the track and drills a straight drive down the ground to move into the 20s. Nine runs from the over takes India to 60.

Over 8 - India 51/2 (Kohli 17, Yuvraj 13) Gulbodin, it appears, has a pretty nifty slower ball. Virat's having no trouble picking him, however, and he sends a half volley sailing straight back over the bowler's head for his first six. A great strike, gunbarrel straight. And that brings up India's fifty. Afghanistan would fancy another wicket right about now.

Over 7 - India 41/2 (Kohli 10, Yuvraj 10) Mangal calls upon Sadiq's short-limbed offbreaks. He operates round the wicket to both batsmen, and is milked into the leg side for five singles before good placement brings Yuvraj two runs from the final delivery. A steady over that neither team will be too displeased with.

Over 6 - India 34/2 (Kohli 7, Yuvraj 6) Gulbodin Naib comes into the attack with his medium pace, and Kohli offers a hint of the sort of form he's in with a caressed drive, on the up, to the cover boundary. The young bowler responds well, restricting the batsmen to just a single off the next four deliveries with a persistently full length.

Over 5 - India 29/2 (Yuvraj 6, Kohli 2) WICKET! Shapoor has another, and it's the big wicket of Sehwag! A classic left-armer's dismissal, curling one across Sehwag, who could only poke at it with zero foot movement. Shahzad already had a smile on his face when he snaffled the chance. Joy is writ large all over Afghanistan's faces. They're loving this. Yuvraj is having none of it, and is off the mark with a smoked six over long on. That's quite a statement.

Over 4 - India 22/1 (Sehwag 8, Kohli 2) Dawlat strings together four dot balls in a row to Kohli, and might have had a fifth as Kohli drives straight towards Nabi in the covers ... but the ball bobbles on the sandy, potholed outfield, and a misdirected shy allows them an overthrow. Dawlat ends a fine, probing over by finding the inside edge of a Sehwag heave with a slower offcutter, the ball rolling down to fine leg. That could easily have ricocheted onto the stumps. Afghanistan are holding their own out there!

Over 3 - India 20/1 (Sehwag 7, Kohli 1) WICKET! Shapoor Zadran strikes! Gambhir poked leaden-footed from the crease, and a length delivery took the inside edge before cannoning onto the stumps. Shapoor screams his celebration, and they'll be celebrating in his home province of Logar. He then fires one past Sehwag's outside edge, Shahzad taking the ball above his head. Good pace and bounce. Sehwag responds with an uppishly flicked four to deep midwicket, but Shapoor restores the balance by beating his outside edge yet again to end the over. If you'd like to find me on Twitter for cricket-related updates, here's my handle: gomorezvidinha.

Over 2 - India 15/0 (Gambhir 10, Sehwag 3) Almost the first wicket for Afghanistan! Dawlat's very first delivery popped up at Gambhir as the left-hander shaped for a nudge to leg, and a leading edge fell agonisingly short of the man running in from mid-off. Gambhir had ambled out for a single, and he might've been run out too, had the shy hit! Gosh, India seem a little more nervous than Afghanistan out there right now. Gambhir settles in with a neat glance to the fine leg boundary, but then bottom-edges a booming drive to end the over. The keeper, Mohammad Shahzad, is struck a painful blow on the knee as the ball lands in front of him, but he should be fine.

Over 1 - India 8/0 (Gambhir 4, Sehwag 2) Afghanistan are really pumped up for this, and Shapoor Zadran ends his first over with - if the speedguns are to be believed - a 93mph zinger that beats Gambhir for pace and strikes him amidships. Not much movement through the air for the tall, left-armed Zadran, but some steady bowling denies Sehwag and Gambhir a boundary.

Pitch and conditions It's cooled off a fair bit after sunset, but humidity will still have a part to play this evening. As we saw in the match between Australia and Ireland, the new ball will zip through and bounce should generally be true. It's a good batting track, without too much in it for the spinners. Although, as MS pointed out, it'll probably slow up a touch later.

Team news India have left out Harbhajan Singh today, meaning that Lakshmipathy Balaji will keep his spot in the playing XI. India: Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli, Yuvraj, Raina, Dhoni, Rohit, Pathan, Ashwin, Zaheer, Balaji. Afghanistan: Mangal, Shahzad, Stanikzai, Nabi, Shenwari, Sadiq, Najibullah, Shafiqullah, Naib, Dawlat, Zadran. So, no Hamid Hassan for Afghanistan. That's a big blow. He was their best bowler by a distance at the last World T20. He's still unfit, apparently.

Toss Afghanistan have won the toss, and have decided to field first. Nawroz Mangal, their captain, reckons batting is Afghanistan's stronger suit, and they fancy a chase. This match is being played on the same track used by Australia and Ireland, and Indian captain MS Dhoni thinks it may slow up a little over the course of the evening.

Ireland couldn't manage an upset against Australia at the same venue earlier in the day, so how will the Afghans fare against the former champions? Stay tuned to find out, the game gets under way in an hour, and the toss is in 30-odd minutes.

Greetings Hello and welcome to our over-by-over commentary of the World Twenty20 Group A fixture between India and Afghanistan at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

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