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India vs Afghanistan: Shami Hat-trick Seals Narrow Win For India at Southampton

India registered their fourth win of the ICC World Cup 2019 against Afghanistan at Southampton on Saturday (June 22) but the match wasn’t truly decided until the very last over when Mohammed Shami closed the proceedings with a hat-trick.

Cricketnext Staff |June 23, 2019, 7:14 AM IST
India vs Afghanistan: Shami Hat-trick Seals Narrow Win For India at Southampton

India registered their fourth win of the ICC World Cup 2019 against Afghanistan at Southampton on Saturday (June 22) but the match wasn’t truly decided until the very last over when Mohammed Shami closed the proceedings with a hat-trick.

Afghanistan needed 16 in the final over and when Mohammad Nabi hit Shami for a boundary off the very first ball, the game still looked like it could swing either way.

However, when Nabi holed out to Hardik Pandya at long-on off the third ball, it was the first of a triple blow in the final over that ended the match.

Shami would clean up the stumps of both Aftab Alam and Mujeeb ur Rahman to finish the game and become the second Indian bowler after Chetan Sharma in 1987 to take a World Cup hat-trick.

But while the last 3 wickets fell with relative ease, Afghanistan will pride themselves on an effort that saw them push the two-time world champions to the absolute brink.

India had got an early breakthrough when a short ball from Shami got rid of Hazratullah Zazai as it stayed low and crashed into his stumps.

A 44-run partnership between Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah stabilized the ship for the Afghans but when the former was caught by Vijay Shankar off Hardik Pandya’s bowling, India were right back in the game.

Shah then put together another good stand with Hashmatullah Shahidi but the big partnership that they clearly wanted, continued to elude them as Shah was the next man to depart courtesy of Jasprit Bumrah, who got him to play one to Yuzvendra Chahal in the deep.

He then removed Shahidi in the same over and the match looked all but over for Afghanistan.

Nabi and Asghar Afghan held down the fort until the latter was clean bowled by Chahal, bringing the hard-hitting Najibullah Zadran to the crease.

Zadran also took the patient route but did find the boundary on a couple of occasions before holing out to Chahal off Pandya’s bowling.

A cameo from Rashid Khan and a useful stand between Nabi and Ikram Ali Khil ensured Afghanistan took the game deep but it wasn’t to be in the end.

Earlier, some good spin bowling from Afghanistan on a slow track meant India could only register 224-8 in their quota of 50 overs.

Virat Kohli's India struggled to impose themselves on the Afghan bowlers after winning the toss and choosing to bat in the sunshine, failing to get out of second gear on England's south coast.

In-form opener Rohit Sharma, who has scored two hundreds so far in the tournament, was dismissed for just one by off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman as India made a sluggish start.

The rest of India's powerful top order all got established, with skipper Kohli making 67 from 63 balls, but none went on to play a decisive innings for the two-time champions in front of thousands of their fanatical supporters.

They hit just 16 boundaries -- including only one six.

Off-spinner Mujeeb was particularly impressive, conceding just 26 runs in his 10 overs, while Rashid bounced back from the most expensive spell in World Cup history against England to take 1-38.

Kohli, who scored half-centuries against Australia and Pakistan, reached his third consecutive fifty of the tournament off 48 balls, with four fours but was caught by Shah off the bowling of Nabi.

MS Dhoni struggled to find any fluency, hitting 28 off 52 balls before he was stumped by Ikram off the bowling of Rashid.

Kedar Jadhav reached his fifty off 66 balls, giving the scorecard a look of respectability but the lack of impetus in the end of the innings meant the total India had to defend was a low one.

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