India struggle against Afghanistan in World Cup

India's captain Virat Kohli attends a training session at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton

Afghanistan's spinners, including part-timer Rahmat Shah, claimed combined figures of 34-0-119-5, but Rahmat and Hashmatullah Shahidi were resolutely playing out India's wristspinners in a chase of 225.

India take on the 2019 ICC World Cup's favourite whipping boys Afghanistan in Match 28. They added decent runs for the second and third wickets and put pressure back on the Indian bowlers. Points TableDespite having now recorded six straight losses and sitting bottom of the table, the tournament's rank outsiders have been growing in confidence and holding their own, particularly with their batting.

Afghanistan seemed well placed to cause an historic upset against their superpower rivals when they reached the final over needing 16 runs to win with three wickets in hand, and with Mohammad Nabi approaching a half century at the crease.

Nabi followed his boundary-less spell of 9-0-33-2 with a fearless assault - 52 off 55 balls - but Bumrah and Mohammed Shami ensured India avoided a potential banana peel and remained unbeaten in the tournament. Bumrah bowled a tidy penultimate over and Shami's hat-trick in the final over sealed the match in India's favour.

With an incredible triumph within touching distance, Nabi was caught by Pandya at long on two balls later. Overall, he is the fourth Indian to bag a hattrick, after Chetan Sharma, Kapil Dev and Kuldeep Yadav.

He knew he didn't have a big total to defend - just 224 - and he knew his two main, wicket-taking strike bowlers were Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal.

"We had a collective belief that we can win this one". KL Rahul abruptly played a reverse sweep and paid the price.

The rest of India's powerful top order all got established, with skipper Virat Kohli making 67 from 63 balls. MS Dhoni's dot-ball kitty swelled once again before he charged Rashid in desperation and was stumped. The runs were being scored at a snail's pace compared to some of their earlier batting displays and the spin-heavy Afghan bowling attack kept on dictating terms.

Considering the form India had been in the ongoing World Cup, it was predicted by nearly all the fans and cricket pundits that the game against Afghanistan would be a cakewalk for the Men in Blue and they will defeat their Asian opponents quite easily.



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