Virat Kohli: At the half way mark, we had some doubts but had the belief that it could be done. I realised that cross-batted shots were not on on this wicket. Only straight-bat shots could be played on this wicket. Our shot selection could have been a little better. We want to use Bumrah smartly. When things don’t go your way, we need to fight back and take a lot heart. Shami was the best when it came to the pacers. His first spell was terrific. Vijay fielded well...we have chosen these players because they have the hunger to win games for India.

Gulbadin Naib: Credit to Bumrah, he bowled really well. The spinners were good. Rashid, Mujeeb and Nabi. Scoring 25-30 is not enough against a team like India. One batsman needed to score 70-80. We lost badly in the first half of the tournament, but we have played some good cricket in the second half and I am happy with the way the team has performed.

Bumrah is the Player of the Match: That gives you a lot of confidence, if the captain has trust in you, that gives you a clear head in terms of what to execute. We saw that wicket was getting slower and with the older ball, you need to be more accurate. There was reverse swing, but you need to rely on your yorkers as well. It was a tight game and I backed my skills.

What a match

Afghanistan, take a bow. After a hiding against Afghanistan, they fought tooth and nail and came within touching distance of pulling off one of the great World Cup upsets. Bumrah and Shami’s quality at the death, though, proved to be too much for them. Rashid, Mujeeb and Nabi – all household names thanks to the IPL – were terrific. So was Virat Kohli – his difference was the difference between the two teams in this low-scoring thriller.


Afghanistan all out for 213

Bowled again! Shami has a hat-trick and becomes the first Indian after Chetan Sharma in 1987 to complete a wicket treble. Another yorker that hits bulls eye and the Indian juggernaut keeps on rolling. Here, though, they just got out of jail.

After 49.4 overs, Afghanistan 213/9 - Aftab Alam out!

Bowled him. Full and straight. Alam misses and the ball hits the timber. India are closing in. Unless we have two sixes coming in. Do we?

After 49.3 overs, Afghanistan 213/8 - Mohammad Nabi out!

That might just seal the match for India! Nabi got a boundary in the first ball of the over down the ground. In came a low full toss, which the former Afghanistan captain tried to throw his bat at again but Hardik Pandya running sideways from long on makes no mistake. Fine knock from Nabi. He just ran out of support.

M Nabi c Hardik Pandya b Shami 52(55)

After 49 overs, Afghanistan 209/7 - Nabi 48, Ikram 7

Top stuff from Bumrah, just five runs from the over. All the deliveries were pitched on yorker length from the India pacer. 16 needed from the last over. Once again, Bumrah eases the nerves when his team needed him.

After 48 overs, Afghanistan 204/7 - Nabi 44, Ikram 6

Nabi is saved by a review. Umpire Illingworth gave him out but replays showed that the impact of Shami’s delivery for a leg-before was pitching outside off-stump. Two from the last ball but what an over it was from Shami. Just three from it. Afghanistan need 21 from the last two overs.

After 47 overs, Afghanistan 201/7 - Nabi 43, Ikram 4

Some of the top batsmen in the world will struggle to cart Bumrah to the deep mid-wicket stands the manner in which Nabi. That was how good that six was. Good over from Afghanistan and Nabi keeps strike. The Afghans are taking it till the end. What a match this is turning out to be.

Bumrah has the ball. Ikram is on strike.

After 45.4 overs, Afghanistan 190/7 - Rashid Khan out!

And...Chahal strikes! The leg-spinner has been almost impeccable today. He flights it and Rashid drags his foot out to meet the pitch of the ball and Dhoni shows his class by whipping the bails off in a flash.

Rashid Khan st Dhoni b Chahal 14(16)

After 45 overs, Afghanistan 185/6 - Nabi 35, Rashid 8

Good over for the Afghans. Rashid has changed bats and is using the long handle. Nine from it. Nabi went inside out and got a boundary over cover. We are in for an exciting finish.

After 44 overs, Afghanistan 176/6 - Nabi 30, Rashid 7

As expected, fine comeback over from Bumrah. He cramped Rashid Khan for room and the batsmen were nearly involved in a mix-up in the final ball of the over. Four from it and Afghans need 49 from the last six overs.

After 43 overs, Afghanistan 172/6 - Nabi 29, Rashid 4

Nabi and Rashid manage just three from Chahal’s ninth over. The pressure is still on Afghanistan, who need 53 from 42 balls now. They need a big over now.

After 41.3 overs, Afghanistan 166/6 - Najibullah Zadran out!

Simple catch for Chahal at short mid-wicket. Soft dismissal for Afghanistan. Lazy chip, a bit of a nothing shot from the left-hander and it’s a simple catch. There is a bit of a sending off as well from Hardik Pandya.

After 41 overs, Afghanistan 165/5 - Nabi 26, Najibullah 21

Well, well. For the first time, there is evidence of frustrating creeping into the Indian camp. Najibullah Zadran gets a boundary off Shami with a stylish flick that rolls to the deep mid-wicket fence. Pandya concedes five from his over. Afghanistan just need to rotate the strike well at this stage.

After 39 overs, Afghanistan 151/5 - Nabi 24, Najibullah 11

Najibullah goes down the ground and gets a boundary off Shami. Seven run over but the Afghans are not comfortable playing the India pacer. The Indians are coming at them.

After 38 overs, Afghanistan 143/5 - Nabi 22, Najibullah 6

Three runs from Kuldeep’s final over. The left-arm spinner finish with figures of 10-0-39-0. The pressure is on Afghanistan, whose required rate is creeping close to seven an over.

After 37 overs, Afghanistan 140/5 - Nabi 20, Najibullah 5

Fine return over from Shami, who has been exceptional all day. Just three from the over. Good use of the short ball from the pacer. Finally, we see Afghanistan pushing the Indian fielders for ones and twos.

Shami is back into the attack

After 36 overs, Afghanistan 137/5 - Nabi 19, Najibullah 3

Decent over Afghanistan with the batsmen rotating strike well. Seven from the over. Afghanistan need more of this. Najib also used the reverse sweep well. Afghans have played the spinners fairly well today.

After 35 overs, Afghanistan 130/5 - Asghar Afghan out!

And, the Afghans crumble. The former skipper tries to heave Chahal out of the park and has his middle stump cleaned up. There was no need for that and India continue to chip away.

After 34 overs, Afghanistan 125/4 - Afghan 8, Nabi 9

While Afghanistan continue to play the spinners well, Pandya is putting the brakes on with a clever change of pace. It’s a mix of pace of spin for India right now. Afghanistan need a big over to calm things down and Nabi will be the key for them.

After 32 overs, Afghanistan 116/4 - CHANCE MISSED!

A big heave by Nabi off Hardik, the ball goes high up in the air... three fielders converging on it and the ball lands bang in the middle. Hardik is not pleased at all. Vijay Shankar running in from the deep should have taken that... KL Rahul was running backward from point. Earlier as well, Vijay was sloppy in the field. Not been his day so far... (Overheard in the newsroom: 3D is becoming 2.5D)

9.23 pm: Hardik Pandya comes on... can he back up the strike bowlers?

After 31 overs, Afghanistan 110/4 - Asghar 4, Nabi 0

Yorkers, short deliveries....Bumrah continues and the Afghans’ struggle. There is no respite for them with two new batsmen at the crease. They need to target one of the Indian pacers at the moment.

After 30 overs, Afghanistan 107/4 - Asghar 1, Nabi 0

Just a single from the over and Pandya is also feeling it. The scoreboard pressure is creeping in. The Afghans’ required rate is close to six an over.

After 29 overs, Afghanistan 106/4 - Hashmatullah Shahidi out!

Bumrah changes the course of the game once again. Top edge from the left-hander and Bumrah takes a fine return catch, bending forward and making no mistake. India are now on top.

H Shahidi c & b Bumrah 21 (45)

After 28.4 overs, Afghanistan 106/3 - Rahmat Shah out!

The short ball does the trick again. The ball rushed onto Rahmat Shah and Chahal took a fine low catch after running in from fine leg.

R Shah c Chahal b Bumrah 36(63)

After 28.4 overs, Afghanistan 106/2 - Rahmat 36, Shahidi 21

Dare we say it, Afghanistan have handled Bumrah and the spinners better than the top-ranked teams. Once again, the batsmen show no fear. Two runs from the Kuldeep over. The left-arm spinner was getting solid turn.

After 26 overs, Afghanistan 98/2 - Rahmat 31, Shahidi 18

They are stepping on the accelerator and the batsmen are getting the odd boundaries. Here, Rahmat comes out and lofts Kuldeep between deep point and long off for a boundary. Seven from the over.

After 25 overs, Afghanistan 91/2 - Rahmat 25, Shahidi 17

There was a big shout for a leg before from Chahal and Dhoni was asking for a stumping. Replays showed that Shahidi had slid his foot in. Four from the over. The left-hander threaded one through the point area.

After 24 overs, Afghanistan 87/2 - Rahmat 25, Shahidi 13

Just four runs from the last two overs, which were bowled from KulCha. The required run rate is steadily creeping towards the six-run mark.

After 22 overs, Afghanistan 83/2 - Rahmat 24, Shahidi 10

Afghanistan are not holding back. Kuldeep Yadav is swept to the boundary by Rahmat. Shahidi and his batting partner now look comfortable and have showed solid technique against the spinners.

After 21 overs, Afghanistan 76/2 - Rahmat 23, Shahidi 4

Another fine over from Pandya, whose short ball is working with good effect. Just as I type that out, Rahmat comes down the track and hammers it through the covers for a four.

After 20 overs, Afghanistan 71/2 - Rahmat 19, Shahidi 3

The scoreboard pressure is telling on the Afghanistan batsmen. They are now looking to target Kuldeep on the leg side and gets a couple of singles.

After 19 overs, Afghanistan 67/2 - Rahmat 17, Shahidi 1

Maiden over from Pandya, who has come back very well in his spell. No room for the batsmen and cuts down the pace on the ball. Shahidi gets a nasty short one in the final ball of the over.

Vijay Shankar takes the catch

After 18 overs, Afghanistan 67/2 - Rahmat 17, Shahidi 1

Stuttering start for Shahidi as the ball stops on him. Just two from the Kuldeep over. India are building pressure.

After 16.5 overs, Afghanistan 64/2 - Gulbadain Naib out!

Pandya comes back with a breakthrough! It was short from the all-rounder and the ball hits high on Naib’s bat and Shankar coming in from deep-square takes a safe catch.

G Naib c Shahidi b H Pandya 27 (42)

After 16 overs, Afghanistan 61/1 - Naib 26, Rahmat 13

Naib is beaten in flight in what was an absolute peach from Kuldeep. Four from the over and finally, we see the Afghan batsmen decide to pinch singles to build pressure.

After 15 overs, Afghanistan 57/1 - Naib 24, Rahmat 11

Single from Chahal’s over as well. The pressure is back on the batsmen. Naib missed out on a juicy full-toss in the final ball of the over.

After 14 overs, Afghanistan 56/1 - Naib 23, Rahmat 11

They are not looking frazzled at all, the Afghanistan batsmen. Kuldeep is on and they try to attack him straight away. Just a single from the over.

Spirit of cricket

After 13 overs, Afghanistan 55/1 - Naib 22, Rahmat 11

Just a single from the over from Chahal. Naib and Rahmat step down the track and try to take on the leg-spinner but can’t beat the infield. In the final ball of the over, Kohli chucked the ball onto Rahmat’s back but Rohit showed concern. Both sets of players are smiling.

After 12 overs, Afghanistan 54/1 - Naib 21, Rahmat 11

Back-to-back fours for Naib. Pandya was short and the Afghanistan captain was on it in a flash and hammered it square of mid-on for boundaries. Twelve from the over and the innings is gathering momentum.

After 11 overs, Afghanistan 42/1 - Rahmat 10, Naib 10

The batsmen continue to show positive intent against Chahal and get a boundary – on that occasion, Kuldeep’s foot touched the boundary while cutting it off in the deep.

After 10 overs, Afghanistan 37/1 - Rahmat 5, Naib 10

Four byes conceded from Pandya. That was out of Dhoni’s reach and Kohli’s not impressed. Couple more to end the over and that should have been three there. The singles and twos will define the contest.

Hardik Pandya is given the ball.

After 9 overs, Afghanistan 29/1 - Rahmat 4, Naib 8

Three runs from Chahal’s first over. Afghanistan tried to play him on the front foot and showed positive intent. They need to get the odd boundary, though.

After 8 overs, Afghanistan 26/1 - Rahmat 2, Naib 2

Naib is looking in decent nick and plays a good-looking on drive for three. Rahmat plays all over a bouncer from Bumrah and gets hit on the helmet. Indians are probing and Afghanistan need to play out this phase.

After 6.3 overs, Afghanistan 20/1 - Hazratullah Zazai out!

Shami attacks the stumps, Zazai tries to go big and has his stumps cleaned up. Poor batting and the left-hander buckled under pressure. India draw first blood.

H Zazai b Shami 10 (24)

After 6 overs, Afghanistan 18/0 - Zazai 8, Naib 4

Bumrah couldn’t get his hand on a tough caught and bowled opportunity. The ball bobbed up in the air after Naib was caught in two minds – whether to go for the pull or duck underneath the short ball – and inadvertently got the top of the bat on it. Frustration slowly creeping into the Afghan captain.

After 5 overs, Afghanistan 16/0 - Zazai 8, Naib 2

Leg byes, byes, cheeky singles....Afghanistan need to squeeze every opportunity to get runs on the board. Another economical over from Shami, who has been terrific so far.

After 4 overs, Afghanistan 12/0 - Zazai 7, Naib 1

Zazai gets a streaky boundary. Kohli, at second slip, dived full length to his left but still could not get his hands down on time. There was nearly a mix-up in the last ball of the over.

After 3 overs, Afghanistan 6/0 - Zazai 2, Naib 0

India lose their review. It was a leg-before shout against Zazai. The ball was hitting the stumps after the umpire gave it not out. Replays showed the ball pitching outside the line of leg stump. Kohli argues with the umpire and he can’t believe that didn’t go India’s way. Maiden over.

After 2 overs, Afghanistan 6/0 - Zazai 2, Naib 0

Four byes conceded from Dhoni. He was beaten by the low bounce and the ball trickled away to the fence. Zazai got a peach of a bouncer from Bumrah but the batsman did well to dig that out for a single.

After 1 over, Afghanistan 1/0 - Zazai 1, Naib 0

Tidy start for Shami. Slightly wide in the last ball but the rest of the over from the pacer was bang on the money. Zazai played and missed regularly.

Shami has the ball in his hand. Hazratullah Zazai to take strike.

6:58 pm: The Indian players are on the pitch. The physio is nursing Pandya’s back. Is there a fitness concern there?

6:55 pm: After U-17 WC snub, footballer Amarjeet Mishra sets sights on making it big in Lisbon – Read here


Excellent bowling display from Afghanistan, bouncing back in style after being taken to the cleaners against England. The Indians struggled against spin. Meanwhile, the Afghans have a chance of a lifetime to create history.

After 49.5 overs, India 223/8 - Kedar Jadhav out!

There goes the eighth one. Once again, the slow ball does the trick. Jadhav tries to clear the infield and its hit straight to cover. A little bit of a fumble and it’s a simple catch.

K Jedhav c Noor Ali Zadran b Naib 52 (68)

After 49.3 overs, India 222/7 - Mohammed Shami out!

Another one goes and Naib flexes his biceps. Slow delivery from the back of the hand and Shami misses the slow delivery. It clips leg. Meanwhile, Jadhav has completed his fifty and Rashid Khan is in a bit of trouble.

After 48.3 overs, India 217/6 - Hardik Pandya out!

Short delivery from Aftab does the trick. Pandya tries to ramp the ball to third man and Ikram makes no mistake after it comes off the handle. India’s struggle in the final overs continue.

H Pandya c Ikram b Aftab 7 (9)

After 48 overs, India 213/5 - Jadhav 45, Pandya 4

Much better over from Naib compared to his previous ones. He cuts the pace on the ball and the batsmen are not able to clear the rope. Afghanistan wouldn’t mind that.

The one that got away

After 47 overs, India 206/5 - Jadhav 43, Pandya 1

India keep their review! Aleem Dar had given Jadhav out off Rashid before Hardik Pandya convinced his non-striker to take it upstairs. Replays showed the ball missing leg. Superb comeback from Rashid Khan after a humbling against England. He finishes with 1/38 from 10 with the wicket of Dhoni.

After 46 overs, India 204/5 - Jadhav 43, Pandya 1

There is little in it if you are trying to bowl pace, eh? Aftab errs with line and length and doesn’t have the pace to trouble the Indian batsmen. Jadhav hooks him for a four and gets a six, one-handed and right next to the sightscreen. Relief for India.

MS Dhoni was out stumped for only the second time in his career

After 44.3 overs, India 192/5 - MS Dhoni out!

Dhoni goes for an almighty heave and is out stumped. Is it because of some of the boos from the crowd? After escaping what was a sure-shot run-out chance, Dhoni’s strange little innings comes to an end.

MS Dhoni st Ikram b Rashid Khan 28 (52)

After 44 overs, India 192/4 - Dhoni 28, Jadhav 31

Just two from the over. What a spell this has been from Mujeeb. He didn’t allow Dhoni any room there and there were more dot balls.

After 43 overs, India 190/4 - Dhoni 27, Jadhav 30

The Indians latch onto the medium pacers yet again. Aftab is short, wide and full – extremely poor given the conditions on offer – and he his hit for boundaries by Dhoni and Jadhav. Easy pickings there. Spin needs to Afghanistan’s go-to weapon even at this stage. The ball is not coming on to the bat easily.

After 42 overs, India 179/4 - Dhoni 23, Jadhav 23

Another fine over from Mujeeb, just a wide and a single from the over. Dhoni is happy to see the spinner off. The “teenager” has figures of 1/24 in nine.

After 41 overs, India 177/4 - Dhoni 23, Jadhav 22

Two runs from the over from Rashid. He is trying to beat Dhoni with a googly from outside off, something that he has been successful with in the IPL. Once again, the batsmen are not even attempting to go after Rashid Khan.

After 40 overs, India 175/4 - Dhoni 22, Jadhav 21

Another boundary for Dhoni off Naib. Once again, the Afghan skipper was short and gave Dhoni ample time to pull off the backfoot. Nine runs from the over and one feels that Indians have released the pressure somewhat.

After 39 overs, India 166/4 - Dhoni 16, Jadhav 18

Rashid continues and it’s just three from the over. The googlies are back in quick succession and even Jadhav is on the defensive.

After 38 overs, India 163/4 - Dhoni 14, Jadhav 17

There comes Dhoni’s first boundary. Slightly short from the medium-pacer and the former India skipper pounds it through the covers. Seven from the overs. Afghanistan must continue to attack with spin.

Gulbadin Naib is back on

After 37 overs, India 156/4 - Dhoni 8, Jadhav 16

Slightly flat from Rashid and India get a welcome boundary. Swept to the deep mid-wicket fence and there’ noone there. Jadhav’s innings has been busy so far. India have their first boundary in more than 10 overs.

After 36 overs, India 152/4 - Dhoni 8, Jadhav 12

Fabulous from Mujeeb. Another one-run over from him. Just 16 runs have come from the last five overs and Dhoni continues to see out this phase for going for shots. Drinks called and Afghanistan need wickets to keep pace with India.

After 35 overs, India 151/4 - Dhoni 8, Jadhav 11

Afghanistan should pressing for the fifth wicket. Naib spread his field out and Dhoni and Jadhav are happy to get singles. Five of them from the over.

After 34 overs, India 146/4 - Dhoni 6, Jadhav 8

Mujeeb is mixing his lengths up well and has a slip in place for Dhoni. Once again, the Indian captain has happy blocking it to glory. Five from the over.

Mujeeb is back into the attack

After 33 overs, India 143/4 - Dhoni 5, Jadhav 6

Nabi continues to get awkward bounce from the wicket. Jadhav is not holding back. Immediate use of the feet and is not ready to get bogged down at the crease. Five runs from the over.

After 32 overs, India 138/4 - Dhoni 4, Jadhav 2

Dhoni’s focus looks to be on seeing the spin bowlers through at this point. Jadhav gets a couple of singles. Five from the over.

Kedar Jadhav is in the middle. Big innings for him.

After 30.2 overs, India 135/4 - Virat Kohli out!

What a big wicket! Kohli gets a thick edge and Rahmat Shah at short third-man takes a neat diving catch. Nabi with the breakthrough. Kohli was filthy with himself as he walked back to the pavilion. He know there was a hundred there. Are Afghanistan in the middle of something special?

V Kohli c Shah b Nabi 67 (63)

After 30 overs, India 133/3 - Kohli 66, Dhoni 3

Dhoni is now three from 15 balls. Trademark Dhoni, getting his eye in and sizing up the bowlers before going for his shots. The length was too short from Shah in the over. Kohli continues to get singles and twos with minimum fuss. Five from the over.

After 29 overs, India 128/3 - Kohli 62, Dhoni 2

Nabi bowls another economical over, three from it. Naib should consider bringing some of his fielders in to save the easy single. So far, it’s been easy pickings for Kohli, who trundles along with singles.

After 28 overs, India 125/3 - Kohli 60, Dhoni 1

Just one from Rashid Khan’s return over. Kohli is into his sixties and Dhoni is off to a watchful start. He has faced nine balls for his single. Afghanistan continue to stifle the Indian batsmen.

After 27 overs, India 124/3 - Kohli 59, Dhoni 1

MS Dhoni gets to spend time out in the middle, without the pressure of going hard from ball one. Makes you wonder about Kedar Jadhav though... who’s hardly got to bat so far.

After 26.1 overs, India 122/3 - VIJAY SHANKAR GONE!

Oh dear, soft dismissal! Innocuous slider from Rahmat Shah and VJS misses a sweep shot. Given out LBW and reviews after a long discussion with Kohli. India retain the review but its umpire’s call for hitting the stumps.

Vijay lbw Rahmat 29 (41)

After 26 overs, India 122/2 - Kohli 58, Vijay 29

Oh no Rashid, don’t bowl there to Virat! Long-hop, googly gone wrong and the Indian captain works the ball around fine leg for four. Spoils an otherwise decent over from Rashid.

After 25 overs, India 115/2 - Kohli 53, Vijay 27

Fifty partnership comes up with a lovely inside-out cover drive by Vijay Shankar. Lofted over cover, minimum fuss and maximum result. 63-ball fifty partnership between him and his captain. The TN all-rounder is doing himself a huge favour at the moment with some smart batting, retains the strike of the last ball.

After 24 overs, India 109/2 - Kohli 52, Vijay 22

Good over from Rashid, bowling with better control today and the pitch is not really a batting belter so that helps him too. India have made 30 runs in the last five overs without any risks... this is the period Rahul should have cashed in, had he not thrown his wicket away.

After 23 overs, India 105/2 - Kohli 51, Vijay 19

Naib turns to the part-time spin of Rahmat Shah and that is best described as an interesting call... this is NOT the time to let the pressure off Kohli and VJS. The latter welcomes the bowler with a lovely extra cover drive for four. India are playing some smart cricket at the moment and the scoreboard keeps ticking. 100 comes up as well.

After 22 overs, India 98/2 - Kohli 50, Vijay 13

Just another day in the office for Virat Kohli! The King brings up his half-century off 48 deliveries. This is his 3rd fifty in a row at the tournament and he has just made it look so easy. Scores so far: 77, 82, 50*

Seven from that Rashid over, courtesy more aggressive running between the wickets.

After 21 overs, India 91/2 - Kohli 47, Vijay 10

As we still try to recover from that bizarre review... Nabi runs through another over quickly. Five runs from it, just more good running between the wicket.

After 20 overs, India 86/2 - Kohli 44, Vijay 8

Welcome Rashid, says Virat. What. A. Shot! Floated outside offstump, driven hard through cover for four. The fielder at long off had no chance. Stunning use of the wrists. Afghanistan then have a massive appeal for LBW against VJS who does not pick the wrong one. Confident appeal but there is inside edge. REVIEW LOST. Poor cricket from the keeper and the bowler.


After 19 overs, India 79/2 - Kohli 38, Vijay 7

Four runs from the Nabi over. Both batsmen gesture with their right hand as if to show the ball is doing something off the pitch with the revs being imparted by Nabi. Kohli even has an exchange with Nabi about it,

And finally, Rashid Khan time!

4.15 pm: Nabi to continue after the drinks break.

After 18 overs, India 75/2 - Kohli 36, Vijay 5

DRINKS: Really, as good a start as Afghanistan would have hoped for after losing the toss. Two runs from the Nabi over as VJS takes his time to get going.

Smiles exchanged between Kohli and Nabi as the Afghan captain forces the former to get into a bit of an awkward position while trying to pull a slow bouncer.

After 17 overs, India 73/2 - Kohli 35, Vijay 4

Nabi is a smart bowler, one of the smartest in world cricket at the moment, and he is not giving an inch for the batsmen to work with. Two singles in that over.

And once again, Rashid Khan is being held back too long by Afghanistan. Why would you not want him to bowl at the moment at the new batsman? Bizarre.

After 16 overs, India 71/2 - Kohli 34, Vijay 3

Steady over from captain Naib as Kohli and Vijay just rotate the strike. A wide and four singles in that over.

4.00 pm: What a chance for Vijay Shankar, he’s in at No 4

After 15 overs, India 66/2 - RAHUL THROWS IT AWAY!

Oh dear, what a horrendous shot. “Bonus wicket for Afghanistan,” says Ramiz Raja and you’d have to agree with him. A completely unnecessary reverse sweep, the ball loops to the fielder at short third man. Nabi cannot quite believe his luck.

Rahul c Zazai b Nabi 30 (53b)


After 14 overs, India 64/1 - Rahul 30, Kohli 31

Naib got some extra bounce in that over from a good length... hitting the deck hard. Another sign of rustiness in the field, results in a single. Five runs from that over.

After 13 overs, India 60/1 - Rahul 26, Kohli 31

Time for Mohammad Nabi who has been the best Afghan bowler in the tournament. He’s been getting some lovely drift in the middle overs. Four runs in that over, including a wide.

The fifty partnership comes up between the two, with Kohli doing the heavy lifting.

After 12 overs, India 55/1 - Rahul 24, Kohli 29

Will Rahul start to play a bit more freely now that the field restrictions are not there? Gulbadin Naib is the first change bowler, he brings himself on and concedes 6 runs including a wide off an attempted bouncer at Kohli. Fifty comes up for India... who are still very much in third gear.

After 11 overs, India 49/1 - Rahul 22, Kohli 26

Kohli is looking in ominous touch at the moment, but even if he was out of form, he would have put that away from Mujeeb for four: just a juicy half volley on his pads, glanced past fine leg.

After 10 overs, India 41/1 - Rahul 20, Kohli 20

Kohli plays the picture-perfect cover drive that even the fielder felt should not be a dot ball so obliged by just taking the pace off the ball. An easy three for the Indian captain. Rahul continues to either play and miss or find the fielders; plenty of head-shaking from his at the moment.

First 10 overs: all in all, a typical India start to the innings.

After 9 overs, India 36/1 - Rahul 19, Kohli 16

Rahul has looked a bit tentative in his stay in the middle as Kohli catches up with him. Just two singles in that Mujeeb over.

After 8 overs, India 34/1 - Rahul 18, Kohli 15

Virat Kohli is up and running, folks! Those brilliant wrists and bat-speed of the Indian captain in full view. Full on his pads from Aftab, he glances it past short fine leg for his first boundary. Off the next ball, a thumping square cut that races past the point fielder. Two fours in that over and some typically urgent running between the wickets.

Big over for India, 14 runs come off it (and not a shot in anger by Kohli).

After 7 overs, India 20/1 - Rahul 17, Kohli 2

Mujeeb and Rahul are involved in a lovely contest at the moment. You could sense that Rahul is itching to get a move on but Mujeeb is hitting the right length that is forcing Rahul to be a bit indecsive about his footwork. Off the last ball, the Indian opener come down the track but Mujeeb floats one wide. Rahul gets his bat to it.

After 6 overs, India 18/1 - Rahul 16, Kohli 1

CHANCE MISSED! “Overthinking by Afghanistan and it cost them,” says Mark Nicholas on air. A brilliant seam-up delivery from Aftab forces Rahul to play at the fourth-stump channel. A thick outside edge goes agonisingly between ‘keeper and wide (really wide) slip. The slip was apparently moved wider just before that. Rahul earlier opened the boundary count for India in that over with a lovely punch through point.


STAT UPDATE: Rohit Sharma’s dismissal is also the first time India have lost a wicket to spin at the World cup. Virat Kohli now joins KL Rahul in the middle.

After 5 overs, India 9/1 - ROHIT SHARMA GONE!

WHAT. A. WICKET! Rohit Sharma is completely bamboozled. A top-notch carrom ball from Mujeeb as Rohit was looking to defend, expecting the ball to come in or hold the line.

Sharma b Mujeeb 1 (10)

After 4 overs, India 7/0 (Rahul 6, Rohit 1)

MAIDEN OVER: It’s another tight over by Aftab but more than the maiden over itself, captain Gulbadin would have been glad to see the fielding effort, a few dives to stop easy singles and prevent Rahul from getting off strike. Just steady line and length, nothing extravagant.

After 3 overs, India 7/0 (Rahul 6, Rohit 1)

Rahul tries to give himself room and play an inside-out shot over cover but ends up mishitting it, goes just wide of the midwicket fielder. Could have easily been caught. Just a single from that over as Rohit plays out five dot balls. Typically cautious start from India.

After 2 overs, India 6/0 (Rahul 5, Rohit 1)

A punch through point by Rahul, gives him a double. Elegant shot. Aftab did get the ball to shape in a few times in that over but at the pace he is bowling (early 80mphs) it’s not going to bother Rahul. Finishes the over with a single through midwicket and retains strike.

2nd over: Aftab Alam from the other end with his medium pace.

After 1 over, India 3/0 (Rahul 2, Rohit 1)

Solid first over from Mujeeb as the ball seemed to stop a bit after pitching right away. Slow pitches have not been uncommon in this World Cup, will be interesting to see if this is one as well. Rahul and Rohit just look to rotate strike early on, tapping into the gap and running three singles. Rohit squared up a tad off the last ball in that over...

3.01 pm: Mujeeb will start off by bowling to his IPL teammate KL Rahul... we are underway.

2.59 pm: There were two press conferences from the Indian camp in the lead-up to the World Cup match against Afghanistan in Southampton on Saturday. Jasprit Bumrah on Thursday and Vijay Shankar on Friday were asked the inevitable, yet cliched question, about facing a side that is down in the doldrums. And, as if reading out from their captain’s handbook of handling the media, both the Indian players stressed on how the focus was not on the opponents but only their own processes.

There were no headline-grabbing quotes, there was no uncalled-for chest-thumping over their as-yet unbeaten campaign: there was just professionalism in saying the right things, that we have come to expect from Indian team’s media interactions these days. And come action-time on Saturday, India would be keen to reproduce that professionalism on the field as well. They only have to look at what happened to Englandagainst Sri Lanka in Leeds on Friday to know that a banana skin can come from any direction in a tournament such as the World Cup.

Here we go... match No 28 is upon us.

2.58 pm: Just a confirmation of the India XI... can Rohit, Kohli and Co cross 400 today? Or will Afghanistan bounce back from the hammering against England?

2.55 pm: Time for the national anthems in Southampton...

Meanwhile, here’s some non-cricket good news for Indian sports fans. Rani Rampal and Co booked Olympic Qualifiers 2019 berth after reaching women’s FIH Series Finals summit clash. India defeated Chile 4-2 in semi-final. Read here.

2.52 pm: Virat Kohli at the toss...

“Vijay Shankar brings a lot of balance, in the field he’s as good as anyone in the world. There’s a reason why he’s in our squad. Whether we are playing a team that’s strong or the team that’s coming through the ranks, our mindset is the same. We don’t take Afghanistan lightly, they are a dangerous side”

2.47 pm: Expect another great atmosphere at The Hampshire bowl.

2.43 pm: TEAM NEWS

India playing XI: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli(c), Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni(w), Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah

Afghanistan playing XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib(c), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Ali Khil(w), Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

2.39 pm: With India batting first, this is a massive chance for KL Rahul to continue impressive.

After all, it isn’t easy being KL Rahul... Chetan Narula writes here.

2.35 pm: Only one forced change for India... Shami replaces Bhuvi.

PS: No folks, India are not wearing the “away jersey”... the mystery continues.

2.34 pm: India have won the toss... Mark Nicholas waits for the cheers down... and Virat Kohli opts to bat first!

2.31 pm: Time for the toss... win toss and bat first? Let’s find out...

2.28 pm: About the conditions

The Hampshire Bowl has one of the largest playing area as far as the World Cup venues are confirmed. Shorter boundaries on the square, 80-plus meters down the ground. “This is a beauty, get your pads on... there will be some spin, see off the first 5-6 overs,” says Ramiz Raja about the pitch.

2.22 pm: A look at the pitch...

2.15 pm: Rishabh Pant said he remained positive despite being initially ignored from India’s World Cup squad. The young wicketkeeper-batsman came into the Indian squad as a replacement after injury ruled out opener Shikhar Dhawan from the tournament.

“When I didn’t get selected, I thought maybe I didn’t do something right, so I became more positive and focussed on how to improve myself. Then I did well in IPL. Then I kept practising,” Pant told India spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in a video posted by BCCI.

Should he feature in the XI today?

2.10 pm: Will this change today? Can Rashid Khan find his mojo back?

2.05 pm: What ails Afghanistan?

Captain Gulbadin Naib has called on cricket’s top teams to play more matches against his country in future to aid their development. Naib’s side have lost all five of their matches at the current World Cup ahead of Saturday’s clash with title contenders India.

The underdogs are competing in their second World Cup, with some critics claiming they have failed to progress since their appearance in Australia and New Zealand four years ago.

The Afghans beat Scotland in the last World Cup but have lost to Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa and England in the 2019 tournament.

Naib insists he is still proud of his team’s efforts and sees signs they are headed in the right direction. But to develop enough to take on the game’s big guns, Naib is convinced Afghanistan must be given more regular matches against the likes of India and World Cup holders Australia.

“Sure, we want (that) also. If you look, we’re not playing against the other teams, our squad, but we do very well,” Naib told reporters on Friday.

“We want to improve our experience, so we should play against the good teams like India, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan. If you’re targeting the top five or top six teams, we should play a lot with them. If we play with them, maybe Afghanistan will be losing the matches, or we will be struggling, but one day Afghanistan will be different.

“So it’s good for us, so if we play good cricket with this kind of team, maybe it’s a great experience, especially for the team and for the boys,” he added.

2.00 pm: Hello all and welcome to our live coverage of the 2019 World Cup. It’s India vs Afghanistan today in Southampton and after the events in Leeds on Friday, we’d all do well not to predict a stroll in the park for Virat Kohli and Co: because Sri Lanka certainly made like difficult and then some for England!

Virat Kohli’s side have made an unbeaten start to the World Cup, with three convincing victories and one washout so far. India’s next test is likely to be their least demanding of the group stage against an Afghanistan team that has lost all five of their games.

All-rounder Vijay Shankar says India believe they have room for improvement in every World Cup game as they prepare to face win-less Afghanistan.

But Vijay insists the number-two ranked ODI team have a professional approach for every game and will look to keep improving against bottom of the table Afghanistan.

“Being a professional, it’s very important to keep improving and get better every day,” Shankar told reporters in Southampton on Friday. “That is the only thing which each and every individual thinks about. If you can keep getting better, we can set ourselves better standards every game. It’s not about against whom we’re playing. I think it’s about how we play as individuals.”

(With AFP inputs)