Kedar Jadhav’s 52 and Virat Kohli’s 67 were of utmost importance to the Indian team as they set Afghanistan a 225-run target at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
While it was eventually enough on the day, all-rounder Jadhav said that the team was aware that they were short of their own target of 250 runs.
“We were targeting 250 or 260 with the bat so we were 20 or so runs short. We knew we had to make those up in the field and credit to the bowlers for defending a small total,” Jadhav said after the match.
Afghanistan, who came into the game on the back of five consecutive defeats, ran them close before Jasprit Bumrah applied the brakes with two wickets of three balls.
Afghanistan needed 16-runs of the final over and Bumrah’s effort was then topped by Mohammed Shami with a final over hat-trick to wrap things up in style.
“We had belief in both our fast bowlers to do the job for us in the death,” said Jadhav.
“Bumrah is the number one in the world and we knew we just needed one wicket to break the partnership. What Shami did in the final over showed his character. He got hit for a boundary and then he got the important wicket.
Bumrah bowled three spells of fire and fury, his two wickets coming just as Afghanistan were starting to establish control, the target seeming much bigger as they slipped from 106/2 to 106/4.
Kohli and India will be happy to have come away unscathed against Afghanistan, a day after Sri Lanka came out of nowhere to stun the World Number 1 side England.
"This game was important for us and it didn't go as planned,” Jadhav said. “When things don't go your way you need to show character and bounce back.
"That showed the character of our team. We can take lot of heart from this win and take the confidence forward."
India’s next assignment will be against the West Indies on Thursday, who suffered a heartbreaking five run defeat at the hands of New Zealand on Saturday.
But, the fans, the Bharat Army, are looking forward to the titanic clash against England, and Jadhav said that the team would not get ahead of themselves and approach their games one by one.
“That’s almost a week from now (England match) and there's one more game before that,” he added.
“As a team, we've always been thoughtful of what is coming next instead of thinking what is coming after ten days. Our next focus is on our West Indies game, and obviously the kind of momentum we're having we would like to maintain.”