COLOMBO, Sept 20 — Afghanistan gave a spirited performance against former Twenty20 world champions India, but dropped four costly chances during a 23-run defeat in their opening World Cup Group A match yesterday.
Virat Kohli profited from one of the missed chances to score 50 from 39 balls in India’s 159 for five.
Suresh Raina (38), who added 46 runs for the fourth wicket with Kohli, was dropped twice and Yuvraj Singh was missed once while scoring 18 from 20 deliveries. Yuvraj was playing in his first major tournament after cancer treatment.
India then dismissed Afghanistan for 136 off 19.3 overs with Yuvraj and Lakshmipathy Balaji capturing three wickets each.
Playing in their second successive Twenty20 World Cup, the non-test playing nation, who chose to field first, contained India’s aggressive top order in the power play.
Pace bowler Shapoor Zardar removed Gautam Gambhir (10) and Virender Sehwag (eight) to limit India to 22 for two off 4.1 overs.
However, Kohli’s partnerships with Yuvraj and Raina helped India post a total that was just out of reach.
Kohli’s 50 included four boundaries and two sixes, while Raina struck six fours.
“I didn’t think at any point we would lose the game, but there were a few situations which were not according to plan. That was a b it disturbing,” Kohli said.
Afghanistan reached 75 for two after 11.1 overs, but the dismissals of Karim Sadiq (26) and Asghar Stanikzai (6) off consecutive balls by Yuvraj helped turn the tide back to India.
Left-arm spinner Yuvraj finished with three for 24. — Reuters