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World T20: India ease past Afghanistan

Last updated on: May 01, 2010 21:45 IST


India scored a comprehensive seven-wicket win against debutants Afghanistan in their opening ICC World T20 match at Gros Islet (St Lucia) on Saturday.

Chasing a modest total (116), the champions of the inaugural edition romped home with 31 balls to spare.

A 55-run third wicket stand between Murali Vijay (48) and Yuvraj Singh (23 not out) ensured the Indian team went about their business in a clinical manner - the partnership took 49 balls.

Vijay's 46-ball knock was inclusive of two hits to the fence and three huge ones over it. Yuvraj remained unbeaten on an almost run-a-ball knock.

India began on an aggressive note, Murali Vijay a boundary over mid-off followed by a maximum over deep midwicket off Dawlat Ahmadzai's first over.

However, the bowler struck in his second over, having Gautam Gambhir (4) caught by Mohammad Nabi at cover point.

Shapoor Zadran was miserly in his first couple of overs, giving away just six runs.

But the introduction of Nabi into the attack in the fifth over enabled Suresh Raina (18) to cut loose - first with a boundary over midwicket followed by a maximum over deep midwicket.

However, Samiullah Shenwari trapped him in front in the next over.

The Vijay-Yuvraj partnership then took over the proceedings, with the former hitting successive sixes over long-off off Nabi.

And when Vijay was finally dismissed by Hamid Hassan - caught by Shapoor Zadran at long-on - India needed just 15 more runs.

In came captain MS Dhoni (15 not out) and he ensured an early end, smashing successive sixes off his Afghanistan counterpart Nowroz Mangal.

Earlier, a calculated half century by Noor Ali Zadran helped Afghanistan to a respectable total.

The debutants made 115 for eight in their stipulated 20 overs.

Noor Ali's 48-ball 50, inclusive of four hits to the fence, was the most signnificant contribution in the Afghan innings with the batsman playing the sheet anchor's role to perfection.

His 68-run partnership (off 11 overs) for the fourth wicket with Asghar Stanikzai (30) laid the foundation of the debutants' total - after they were struggling at 29 for three early on. 

Stanikzai's 33-ball kncok included three massive sixes.

Ashish Nehra was the most successful bowler for India with figures of three for 19.

The left-armer gave India a perfect start when he had Karim Sadiq (0) caught by MS Dhoni in the second over (his first).

In the next over by Praveen Kumar, Noor Ali beat the fine leg fielder to secure what was Afghanistan's first boundary.

The batsman helped himself to another three balls later, on this occasion punched past backward point.

However, Nehra struck again in his second over having Mohammad Shahzad (6) caught by Dhoni.

Captain Nowroz Mangal (5) didn't last long either, the introduction of Ravindra Jadeja into the attack ensuring his dismissal - caught by Gautam Gambhir at mid-off.

Afghanistan had been reduced to 29 for three after the sixth over.

Noor Ali though continued to impress though, a boundary off Jadeja over extra cover giving ample proof of his pedigree.

Asghar Stanikzai also cut loose hit a maximum off Jadeja over deep midwicket, the shot also ensuring Afghanistan surpass the 50-run mark (in the 11th over).

The batsman helped himself to another maximum two overs later, this time off Yusuf Pathan and then again off Harbhajan Singh.

Noor Ali, meanwhile, completed his fifty with a single off Nehra but perished two balls later, hitting straight to Dhoni.

The next over by Kumar, the 18th of the innings, ensured India a further two wickets.

Stanikzai top-edged a pull and Zaheer Khan made no mistake at midwicket and in the very next ball, Mohammad Nabi gave Dhoni some catching practice.

And Afghanistan, having started tentatively and gathered momentum in the middle of their innings, finished their innings on a vapid note - the last four overs ensuring the addition of just 20 runs to their total.