10 February 2015
Rohit stars in big win for India
Rahane, Raina contribute half-centuries as Afghanistan falls 153 short of India’s massive 364/5
Rohit Sharma’s 150, off just 122 balls, was the centerpiece of India’s 364 for 5.
For four overs, this warm-up game at the Adelaide Oval had the makings of an upset. Shikhar Dhawan had played on off Hamid Hassan, and Virat Kohli had edged a full delivery from Dawlat Zadran behind. The small group of Afghan fans in the crowd were in fine voice, but Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane took a heavy toll of the bowling in placid conditions, and the target of 365 was far beyond the ambit of the Associate side, which batted with commendable discipline for two-thirds of its innings before a flurry of wickets gave India a sizeable win.
Rohit’s 150, off just 122 balls, was the centerpiece of India’s 364 for 5. He had gone past 200 twice in ODIs, and was well on course for such a score by the time he miscued a Mohammad Nabi delivery to long-off. There were still 10.1 overs left to be bowled at that stage, and Rahane made sure there would be no let-up in the scoring, pounding out an unbeaten 88 from just 61 balls.
The damage had been done much earlier, as Raina and Rohit resuscitated the innings after Hassan and Dawlat had given the Afghans a sprightly start with the new ball. Once Rohit found his range, the ball was worked into the gaps and over the infield with unerring regularity. Raina, who struck five fours and three sixes in a 71-ball 75 before being caught short by a dive and throw from Nabi, was happy to turn the strike over as Rohit employed both finesse and force to scatter the field. The century came up off 94 balls, and in all, he smashed 12 fours and seven sixes.
MS Dhoni made a 20-ball 10, and the final stages of the innings were all about Rahane and the ease with which he peppered the boundary hoardings. Mirwais Ashraf bowled six tidy overs, and Hassan was never easy to get away, but the inexperience of the attack showed in too many balls bowled on a hittable length, and the batsmen didn’t miss out.
With the bat, Afghanistan came out swinging. Javed Ahmadi stroked four fours in his 17 before edging Umesh Yadav behind. But though Nawroz Mangal and Usman Ghani added 63 for the second wicket, the introduction of spin stalled momentum. Both Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin bowled with great control, and the pace bowlers also kept their discipline.
Mohammed Shami dropped a chance offered by Ghani when he had made 43, but it didn’t cost India as a combination of Dhawan and Yadav dismissed him moments later. He mishit a heave off Jadeja and though Dhawan, running towards the rope, couldn’t hold on to the ball, he managed to palm it upwards into the waiting hands of Yadav.
Shami then took a smart catch at mid-on to end the 60-run stand between Mangal and Asghar Stanizkai, but by then the asking rate had climbed to more than 14 an over. Najibullah Zadran was stumped off Ashwin’s bowling, and Mangal’s defiant 85-ball 60 ended with a thin edge behind off Mohit. Nabi, the captain, was bowled while trying to slog Jadeja.
The final margin was 153 runs, an accurate reflection of Afghanistan’s inexperience of both the big stage and these conditions. The side will surely get better as the tournament progresses. As for India, this, although only a practice game, represented a first win after two and a half months on Australian soil, and it will hope that there are a few more to come, starting with the all-important clash against Pakistan at the same venue on Sunday (February 15).
To see the full scorecard between Afghanistan and India, please click here.
To see the match report of the match between Ireland and Scotland, please click here.
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