The Indians notched an unconvincing victory over a fast learning Afghanistan side at Hanbantota on Wednesday. The Afghanis though gave a good account of themselves, on the way further exposing the chinks in the Indian armour.
After being put in to bat, the Indian started with diffidence. The Afghani pace bowlers managed to work up decent pace and bounce and they regularly troubled Gambhir and Sehwag. Gambir got dismissed in his typical style, attempting to run the ball down to third man. this time though inside edging onto the stumps. Sehwag followed soon enough and the scorecard read 22 for 2 in 4.1 overs. Thereafter, Yuvraj Singh and Kohli rebuilt the innings and took the score to 68 before Yuvi cut a short ball from Karim Sadiq to third man. Lusty hitting from Raina, Dhoni and a half century from Kohli ensured the score reached 159. The Indians received ample assistance from the indiscipline shown by the bowlers through the 14 wides. Raina was the beneficiary of two simple dropped chances and Kohli too received one life. All of these proving to be expensive let ups for the Afghanis.
In reply, the Afghanis came out all guns blazing and took a shine to Indian spearhead Zaheer Khan. Their keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad unfurled a helicopter shot that could put Dhoni to shame, Nowroz Mongal and Karim Sadiq kept up the pressure on the Indian bowlers as they reached 75 for 2 in 11 overs. The introduction of Yuvraj and Ashwin got the wickets and slowed the run rate down. At one time Afghanistan lost 3 wickets in 7 deliveries to be 75 for 5 in 12 overs. With hopes of a win fast fading away Mohammad Nabi produced a cameo of 31 runs off 17 deliveries to set the cat amongst the pigeons. But the experience of the Indians came to the fore as they held their nerves to win by 23 runs. Yuvraj and Balaji finished with three wickets each , while Ashwin bowled smartly for his two wickets.
For his innings of 50 runs, Virat Kohli was yet again adjudged the man of the match.