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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Mar 5, 2014
Ravindra Jadeja‘s spell of 4 for 30 and Ravichandran Ashwin;s three for 31 bowled Afghanistan out for 159 in India’s Asia Cup 2014 encounter at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. It was a good performance by the Indian spinners as they put Afghanistan out of the contest by backing their skipper Virat Kohli‘s decision to bowl first. An unchanged Indian side surprised many as Ishwar Pandey and Cheteshwar Pujara continued to warm the benches. On the other hand, Afghanistan brought in Rahmat Shah in place of Hamza Hotak.
The Afghanistan side that looked so competitive against Bangladesh, has largely had a poor tournament with the bat and it just continued. There was a positive start though as Noor Ali Zadran was fluent at the outset. The Indian pacers continued to struggle and although India have bowled Afghanistan out for a paltry score, they would be concerned about that department.
Both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami struggled to get their line right. Shami, in particular, was very off-line and as a result, Noor Ali was in play. Moving a bit about the crease, he used the pace of the ball and timed them to the fence. The highlights were some of the shots he creamed through the off-side. When they were pitched a bit short, he would stand tall and guide them with the full face of the bat. Nawroz Mangal’s stint at the top didn’t last long as he chopped one onto his stumps
But, once the spinners came on, it was a different ball game altogether. Amit Mishra turned a few away from the right handers, but it was Jadeja who spun a web. Rahmat Shah was leg-before to an arm-ball that held its line. Two balls later, Noor Ali edged one to first slip as he was drawn into one forward.
Asghar Stanikzai, who has shown solidity through the tournament, was a bit patient to start with but then succumbed to the pressure. He pulled a short one from Jadeja straight into the lap of mid-on. From 54 for one, they slipped to 60 for four.
It only went downhill from there on as the runs dried up and wickets kept falling. Najibullah Zadran tried to attack Ravichandran Ashwin off the first ball after drinks and was caught at mid-off. Skipper Mohammad Nabi was then caught behind six off Jadeja.
Mohammad Shahzad did play a few attacking strokes and became the second batsman in the innings to go into the double figures. Ultimately, Ashwin trapped him leg-before. It was then Samiullah Shenwari, who kept attacking. He fought hard to extend Afghanistan’s challenge even as wickets fell at the other end. A shot that stood out was an inventive reverse-sweep off Ashwin that went for four.
Shenwari kept attacking even as they were down to the last man. He raced to his fifty off 69 balls, hitting a few fluent four down the ground. It was due to his innings that they soared to 159, a score that looked impossible with the initial collapse. Ultimately, he was leg-before to Shami as the latter picked up his 50th One-Day International (ODI) wicket.
Afghanistan 159 in 45.4 overs (Noor Ali Zadran 31, Mohammad Shahzad 21, Samiullah Shenwari 50; Ravindra Jadeja 4 for 30, Ravichandran Ashwin 3 for 31) vs India.
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