Mohammed Shami became only the second Indian bowler to record a World Cup hat-trick as India edge Afghanistan in a thriller of a contest at Rose Bowl, Southampton on Saturday. India’s frontline bowlers rose up to occasion as they rallied to defend a modest score of 224 after an ordinary batting performance.
The likes of Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya stopped Afghanistan from pulling off one of the greatest World Cup upsets. Shami dismissed Mohammad Nabi, Aftab Alam and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman off consecutive balls in the final over to secure India’s memorable 11-run win.
Bumrah, Chahal and Pandya grabbed 2 apiece after Virat Kohli (67) and Kedar Jadhav (52) had helped India post a modest 224/8 off their 50 overs. Riding on a fighting half-century from Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan batsmen fought till the very end and gave India a real scare.
In the end, India held their nerves better and won their 50th match in all World Cups. India now have 9 points (4 wins, 1 no result) from 5 matches in the 2019 World Cup.
Chasing 225 against a top quality bowling attack, Afghan openers were tied down by the guile and skill of Shami and Bumrah. Hazratullah Zazai lost his patience, swung for the skies and Shami hit timber. But Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah added 44 off the next 10.2 overs to calm nerves in the Afghan dressing room.
Hardik Pandya had given away 20 runs off his first 2 overs and that was hurting India in a low-scoring game. But Kohli’s trusts in Pandya was repaid by the dyanmic all-rounder as he provided the Men in Blue an all-important breakthrough. Sure enough, Hardik Pandya took out Naib as Afghanistan slipped to 64 for 2 off 16.5 overs.