World Twenty20 Cricket: Afghanistan drop clangers against India
DROPPED catches cost Afghanistan the chance of a famous upset against India in the ICC World Twenty20 as they were beaten by 23 runs in Colombo.
After Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag were dismissed early, Virat Kohli benefited from a ball dropped over the boundary for six on his way to 50 and Suresh Raina had two let-offs in making 38. The pair led India to 159 for five and, although Mohammad Nabi led a spirited run-chase, India made a winning start ahead of their clash with England on Sunday.
Gambhir edged onto his stumps in the third over for just 10 runs before Mohammad Shahzad snaffled a poor shot to dismiss Sehwag for eight.
Yuvraj Singh announced himself with a huge six but he was soon dismissed by Karim Sadiq as he sliced a cut straight to Shapoor. After such a strong start, Afghanistan’s attack began to falter but Kohli was finally dismissed by Dawlat Zadran, Nabi taking the catch, and then added another scalp when he scooted the ball under Raina’s bat in the 20th over.
MS Dhoni added 10 to India’s tally from the last two deliveries and Afghanistan were set a target of 160.
Openers Shahzad and Nawroz Mangal put on 26 before Shahzad slogged the ball straight to Yuvraj at mid-on.
Yuvraj trapped Mangal lbw before forcing Sadiq into an aimless hit to Gambhir. Asghar Stanikzai edged into Dhoni’s gloves next ball and although Samiullah Shenwari survived the hat-trick ball, a third wicket fell in six deliveries when he was caught and bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin.
Nabi and Shafiqullah both hit giant sixes but the latter fell to a contentious lbw call. Nabi’s 31, including two fours and two sixes, came to an end in the 17th over as he lifted Ashwin straight to Ishant Sharma. Najibullah Zadran spanked Balaji to the boundary but was then run out, with Balaji dismissing Dawlat Zadran to wrap up the innings.
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