India registered a comfortable six-wicket win over Afghanistan in the first T20I in Mohali. Chasing 159, India’s first half of the chase was quite jittery but things came back on track with vital contributions from the middle order. Shivam Dube, the player of the match, scored an unbeaten 60 off 40 balls while Jitesh Sharma (31 off 20 balls) and Rinku Singh (16* from nine balls) also contributed.
Rohit Sharma, the Indian skipper, credited these performances as big positives for India from this contest. “Lots of positives - Shivam Dube, the way Jitesh batted, Tilak as well and obviously Rinku,” Rohit said.
He also credited the spinners for pulling the game back when India were wicketless in the powerplay. Axar Patel picked 2/23 in his four overs. “Wasn't the easiest of conditions but our spinners bowled particularly well,” Rohit added to what India gained from this match.
However, returning to T20I cricket, Rohit had a glum evening. In the first over of India’s run chase, Rohit was run out for a duck. Both Rohit and his opening partner Shubman Gill were caught at the non-striker end as the former was ball watching on his skipper’s call. Rohit appeared quite furious.
“When it happens you feel frustrated because you want to be out there and score runs for your team. Wanted Gill to carry on. He played a good innings but got ou,” Rohit said about his reaction.
“Want to try a few things. Want to make the bowlers do a few different things. Like how Washington Sundar bowled the 19th today. Keeping those things in mind, we'll try to do different things. But not at the cost of winning,” Rohit added about India’s approach for the remaining two games.
Ibrahim Zadran, the Afghanistan skipper assessed that they fell short by 15 runs. “We were short 13-15 runs,” he said.
Afghanistan were slow to start with the bat after being put in to bat and as Zadran suggested, they were lazy in the field. Afghanistan dropped a few tough catches that could have put India’s middle-order under pressure.
“He were trying to have a good powerplay start but we lost wickets then. One of us should've gone for 14-15 overs but we lost back-to-back wickets. When new batters came, we came under pressure.
“In the second innings there was dew and gripping of the ball was difficult. I can say that the boys tried really well. We will try to improve our fielding. We were quite lazy with the fielding today.”
“We will try to improve batting as well. Bowling we have no issue. Will focus on what we did wrong today,” Zadran said.