Southampton: Afghanistan spun a web around India's in-form batting unit to restrict them to 224-8 in their ICC World Cup 2019 match in Southampton on Saturday (June 22).
Afghanistan's four spinners picked five wickets among them. Mohammad Nabi got two while Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan and Rahmat Shah picked up a wicket apiece. Captain Gulbadin Naib too picked up two wickets in the last over.
Only Virat Kohli looked in control with a 63-ball 67 while others struggled on a slow surface. Jadhav too made 52 off 68, taking India to a respectable total.
India struggled to get going as soon as they opted to bat first. Opening the bowling, Mujeeb Ur Rahman kept the openers tight before he bowled Rohit Sharma with a beautiful carrom ball. Rohit had looked uncomfortable and eventually fell for a 10-ball 1.
Virat Kohli started positively, driving and punching pacer Aftab Alam for boundaries. At the other end KL Rahul struggled for momentum, tied down by spin. The duo added 57 for the second wicket when Rahul fell, reverse-scooping Mohammad Nabi straight to backward point.
From there on, it was a case of slow progress for India. Kohli kept going at one end with typically fluent strokeplay. Vijay Shankar, in at No. 4, took his time to settle as Afghanistan bowled spin from both ends. Kohli went past his half-century, and the partnership added 58 with Vijay making 29 off 41 when he was lbw to leg-spinner Rahmat Shah looking for a sweep. He reviewed but the umpire's call stayed.
MS Dhoni joined his captain in the middle and he took time to settle too, struggling to rotate strike against spinners. India suffered another blow when Kohli cut Nabi to backward point, undone by the extra bounce.
At 135 for 4 in the 31st over, India were in trouble. The pitch was assisting spin and India's batting didn't have depth as they had to play Mohammed Shami for Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav then added 57 for the fifth wicket, making slow progress but taking them towards a total with which the bowlers could operate. Dhoni was on 8 off 26 at one stage before he finally got going to finish on 28 off 52, stumped looking to attack Rashid Khan in the 45th over.
Hardik Pandya couldn't finish strong while Jadhav brought up his half-century in the last over.
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