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India defeat Afghanistan by 6 wickets in second T20I in Indore

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In Men’s Cricket, India defeated Afghanistan by six wickets in the second T20 of three-match series at the Indore’s Holkar Cricket Stadium tonight. Chasing 173 runs for a victory, India made 173 losing four wickets with 4.2 overs to spare. Earlier, put in to bat, Afghanistan were all out for 172 runs in the stipulated 20 overs. India leads the three match series 2-0.

Afghanistan posted their highest total against India, led by a half-century from Gulbadin Naib and late cameos. They posted 172 after being asked to bat first but the total proved too little against the blazing blades of Yashasvi Jaiswal (68 off 34, 5 fours & 6 sixes) and Shivam Dube (63* off 32, 5 fours & 4 sixes) as India chased down the target in 15.4 overs to clinch the series with a game to go.

Rohit Sharma, who became the first to feature in 150 T20Is, couldn’t commemorate the occasion with an impactful innings as he fell for a golden duck. Looking to swing across the line to a Fazalhaq Farooqi delivery, he missed making any contact with the bat to be bowled, heading back without scoring for his second successive game. Meanwhile, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Virat Kohli, who replaced Shubman Gill and Tilak Varma, began with confident boundaries to get India going. Boundaries and sixes came regularly as they raised a quick-fire half-century stand to put India in command.

Kohli though fell against the run of play, failing to clear mid-off off Naveen-ul-Haq in the final over of powerplay. Jaiswal ended the over with another six, helping India to 69/2.Jaiswal continued to dominate, striking a straight six off Mohammad Nabi, while Shivam Dube hit his first maximum by sending a Noor Ahmad delivery flat past long-off. Jaiswal reached a 27-ball fifty following which Dube went on overdrive, hitting a hat-trick of sixes off Nabi to bring up a fifty-run stand off only 25 balls.

It was a batting show-off between Dube and Jaiswal, with Afghanistan being the collateral damage. Jaiswal hit a four and two sixes off Noor after which Dube followed it up with three fours in an over off Naveen and got to a 22-ball fifty, his second successive half-century in the series.

There was – Karim Janat struck twice in the 13th over to give Afghanistan some respite. Jaiswal edged the ball to the keeper trying to run the ball to the thirdman region, ending a partnership worth 92 off 42, while Jitesh Sharma hit one straight to mid-off to depart for a duck. But with the required rate under 2.5 an over, it needed an implosion from the Indian batting order for Afghanistan to stand any chance. Dube and Rinku Singh ensured there wasn’t one, sealing a comprehensive victory for India.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz didn’t take long to get going, putting away a half-volley from Arshdeep Singh in the opening over for a four and then hit a straight six off Mukesh Kumar. In the same over Ibrahim Zadran survived a review for lbw and got off the mark with a boundary. Afghanistan suffered a setback in the third over as Ravi Bishnoi had him caught at mid-on. But Gulbadin Naib ensured the positivity from the innings did not diminish, putting away Mukesh for a couple of fours and then taking on the legspinner, pulling one for a six followed by two fours. Axar Patel picked up a wicket in his first over as well, having Ibrahim bowled for 8. Gulbadin, meanwhile, added another four to his tally to help Afghanistan end the powerplay at 58/2, their highest PP score against India.

Another bowler delivered for India in his first over as Shivam Dube had Azmatullah Omarzai bowled with a slower delivery. But Gulbadin did not relent, clearing deep midwicket and long on for two sixes off Dube en route to a 28-ball fifty. But Axar, who bowled his four overs at one go, had Gulbadin caught at midwicket and finished with excellent figures of 2-17.

Mohammad Nabi was reprieved in the 13th over when Jitesh Sharma couldn’t hold on to an under-edge off Washington Sundar’s bowling. But the veteran fell soon after, giving Bishnoi his second wicket when Rinku held on to a well-judged catch at long off. Karim Janat’s boundary off Washington in the 16th over was a much-needed one for Afghanistan who managed only 59 runs in overs 7-16.

Najibullah Zadran, who was on 6 off 15, finally got going in the 17th over as he clubbed two sixes off Bishnoi, with a four sandwiched between those. But he had to depart in the next over, bowled by Arshdeep, who in the same over ended up being hit for a six and a four by Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Dube was handed the ball for the penultimate over as part of India’s experimentation but Karim found the bowling to his liking as he struck a four and a six, and Mujeeb ended the over with another maximum. Arshdeep bagged a couple of wickets in the final over, eight runs came off it, and there were a couple of run outs too as Afghanistan finished with 170-plus.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 172 in 20 overs (Gulbadin Naib 57; Arshdeep Singh 3-32, Axar Patel 2-17) lost to India 173/4 in 15.4 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 68, Shivam Dube 63*; Karim Janat 2-13) by 6 wickets.

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