India 160-2 (Dhawan 60, Rahane 56) beat
Afghanistan 159 (Jadeja 4-30) by 8 wickets
Asia Cup game nine, Mirpur
India rounded off their disappointing Asia Cup campaign by thrashing Afghanistan in Mirpur.
The Afghans made a promising start after being asked to bat but were soon in trouble against the Indian spinners. Ravindra Jadeja took four for 30, R Ashwin three for 31 and Amit Mishra one for 21 as they collapsed to be all out for 159 with only Samiullah Shenwari showing any resistance with 50.
India’s opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan then ensured that their side would have little difficulty in reaching their target by adding 121 in less than 24 overs. Rohit Sharma (18 not out off 24 balls) and Dinesh Karthik (21 off 27) completed victory by eight wickets in the 33rd over.
The Afghanistan bowlers, as they have been all tournament, were again pretty impressive, with Mohammad Nabi getting through 10 overs for figures of one for 30 and Dawlat Zadran (5-0-25-0), Mirwais Ashraf (5-0-26-1) and Shapoor Zadran (6-0-25-0) all recording respectable figures. Rahane, though, made 56 off 66 balls, while Dhawan hit 60 off 78 to set up India’s comfortable win,.
Afghanistan’s openers Nawroz Mangal and Noor Ali Zadran had earlier added 30 in five overs after Virat Kohli had invited them to have first use of the Mirpur pitch. However, Mohammad Shami removed former skipper Mangal for five, with the spinners then soon taking over.
Jadeja had Rahmat Shah leg-before for nine and Noor Ali caught for 31 in the same over, with the big wicket of Asghar Stanikzai then falling in his next over when he benefited from having short delivery slapped to Mishra at mid-on. Ashwin then had Najibullah Zadran caught by the substitute fielder Stuart Binny to make the score 64 for five and complete a mini-collapse of four for 10.
Nabi then hung around for a while with Mohammad Shahzad to add 19 and break the procession of wickets. He, though, was also soon walking back as Jadeja claimed his fourth wicket. Shahzad handed Ashwin his second scalp when on 22 as the scoreline read 95 for seven.
All-rounder Shenwari was the main reason that the Afghan total got anywhere near 150, and eventually passed it. He showed his credentials with the bat in the historic win over Bangladesh last week and reached 50 for the fifth time in his One-Day International career. He received adequate support from Ashraf (9 off 26 balls), Shapoor (1 off 13) and Dawlat (2 not out off 17) before being last man out when he handed Shami his second wicket shortly after completing his half-century.
India, then, end the tournament in third place in the table, and will be disappointed to have not reached the final, which will be contested by Sri Lanka and Pakistan on Saturday. Afghanistan, meanwhile, can finish no higher than fourth, but will be pleased with their maiden Asia Cup outing which saw them beat Bangladesh. The hosts have a last chance to record a win when they take on the unbeaten Sri Lanka in the final group game tomorrow.
© Cricket World 2014