Riding on belligerent half-centuries from Rohit Sharma (74 off 47 balls) and KL Rahul (69 off 48 balls), India posted a gigantic 210/2 in 20 overs against Afghanistan in a Group 2 match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.
After Sharma and Rahul stitched a stand of 140 runs, the highest opening partnership for India across all editions of Men’s T20 World Cups, Hardik Pandya (35 not out off 13 balls) and Rishabh Pant (27 not out off 13 balls) gave the perfect flourish at the end to take India to the highest score of the ongoing tournament.
After being asked to bat first, India made a strong start with 53/0 in power-play. With no vicious swing or seam or spin, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul hit eight boundaries between themselves. With Rahul taking Sharafuddin Ashraf for a six over long-on followed by a four over mid-on, Sharma smacked Naveen-Ul-Haq for a four over backward point, a massive six over long-off and ended the over with a drive over extra cover.
Post power-play, Sharma and Rahul relied on strike rotation while getting boundaries at a consistent rate. Sharma reached his half-century with a cut through point off Ul-Haq in the 12th over. In the next over, Rahul too reached his half-century with a loft over extra cover off Gulbadin Naib. Sharma went on to smash Rashid Khan for back-to-back sixes on the leg-side.
The 140-run partnership was broken in 14.4 overs as Sharma chipped straight to short cover off Karim Janat. In the next over, Rahul was clean bowled while trying to scoop over fine leg off Naib. Rishabh Pant, promoted to No 3, welcomed Naib with successive sixes. Hardik Pandya joined the run-fest with three fours off Hamid Hassan in the 17th over. The last two overs yielded 35 runs as Pant and Pandya powered India to an imposing total.
Brief Scores: India 210/2 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 74, KL Rahul 69, Karim Janat 1/7, Gulbadin Naib 1/39) against Afghanistan.