World Twenty20: India labour to win as Afghans show they are no push-overs
India 159-5 Afghanistan 136 (India win by 23 runs)
Afghanistan, the tournament darlings, played exactly as might have been expected last night in their opening match of the World Twenty20. They were constantly entertaining, boundlessly enthusiastic and simply not quite proficient enough to overcome India.
In going down by 23 runs they did some splendid things but their shortcomings cost them dear. Four dropped catches and a litany of fielding mistakes are usually insurmountable obstacles against any opponents and India are not any opponents. So it proved. A target of 160 was well beyond even their high-octane sluggers against a prosaic attack.
India will be glad to have this match behind them, however, as will England tomorrow night. There was little in India's display to suggest that they will go far in this competition but they went T20 crazy across the nation after their side, initially reluctant participants, won the inaugural World Twenty20 and the complexion of world cricket was changed forever.
If they are to progress far, their powerful batsmen will be instrumental. Many of them were jaded last night and it took a 39-ball half-century from Virat Kohli to ensure the board ticked over after a poor start.
With five overs gone, Afghanistan had both openers out, courtesy of their left-arm fast bowler Shapoor Zadran, the Logar Express. But in rapid succession Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina (twice) and Kohli were dropped. Two were return catches to the bowler, all should have been snaffled.
The ground fielding grew worse: there were 14 wides and MS Dhoni buckled his swash at the end, finishing the innings with a four and a six.
Afghanistan needed a rapid, wicket-free start. They never quite managed either despite (and because of) Mohammad Shahzad's whirling blade. Yuvraj, returning to cricket weeks after recovering from cancer, took three wickets including two in two balls.
A late flourish from Mohammad Nabi in scoring 31 from 17 balls kept interest if not hope alive. Afghanistan were disappointed but did enough for England to know that nothing but their A game will suffice.
Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3: Mario Balotelli and Gary Lineker lead the trolling of United
Police probe Mario Balotelli racist abuse as Kick It Out voice their displeasure
Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how the internet reacted
Manchester City vs Chelsea match report: Frank Lampard shows no joy after denying Chelsea victory
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how the internet reacted
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God