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World T20 India vs Afg: Yuvi and Kohli save the blushes

first_imgIndias strongest suit looked woefully short of its best against Afghanistan in their ICC World Twenty20 opener at the R Premadasa Stadium here on Wednesday. Agreed, the much superior batting line- up was put in first on a bouncy track by Nawroz Mangal, but the manner of dismissals will gnaw at them more than Indias total of 159 for five wickets in 20 overs. Score | PhotosAs it was, India won their first Group A match by 23 runs, but not before the Afghans had put another feather in their cap of giving a top team a scare with their spirited batting display against the 2007 champions weak bowling attack.Yuvraj Singh put the match in Indias grasp with his left- arm spin as he picked up three wicket for 24 while R Ashwin finished with two for 20. Earlier Virat Kohli top scored with 50 ( 39 balls, 4x4s, 2x6s).Opener and Mohammad Shahzad ( 18) got Afghanistan off to a flier, with the highlight being a stunning helicopter shot for four off Zaheer Khan.Soon after the Afghans reached their 50 for one in the seventh over, Yuvraj was introduced and he trapped captain Mangal ( 22) LBW with the first ball.Then, in his third over, he struck successive blows, sending Karim Sadiq and Asghar Stanikzai with the score being 75. But Mohammad Nabi ( 37 off 17 balls) and Shafiqullah smacked him for sixes in his final over.Afghanistan kept playing fearless strokes and were rewarded in the 16th over that cost Zaheer 16 runs, but at the same time they lost wickets regularly, to be dismissed for 136.Earlier, man- of- the- match Kohli and Suresh Raina ( 38) got India to a position of safety.Out- of- form openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag failed to get going.Gambhir ( 10) got out in the most predictable way as he played away from the body and got an inside edge onto his stumps. Sehwag ( 8) also perished to his most common dismissal edging behind to an angled delivery from Shapoor.Yuvraj smashed a stunning straight six off just his fourth ball on the fifth anniversary of his six- sixes match against Englands Stuart Broad in the 2007 World T20 but then buckled down in the company of Kohli.Kohli whacked Gulbodin Naib for six in the seventh over, but Yuvraj was struggling to get the spinners away, and was dropped by bowler Nabi in a nine- ball 10th over. Soon after that he cut an off- break from Sadiq straight to short third man.Nabi dropped another return catch, this time from Raina, and that seemed to push Kohli into a higher gear. He hit Sadiq for a four and a six, which came off another spilled catch on the boundary by Samiullah Shenwari. He then creamed Shapoor over extra cover for four.Raina, too, joined in the act, cracking two fours as India reached their 100 in 13.5 overs, before surviving once again as 12th man Izzatullah Dawlatzai dropped a skier.advertisementlast_img read more

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