India 173 for 4 (Jaiswal 68, Dube 63*, Janat 2-13) beat Afghanistan 172 (Naib 57, Arshdeep 3-32, Axar 2-17, Bishnoi 2-39) by six wickets
Scintillating half-centuries from Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shivam Dube helped India beat Afghanistan by six wickets in the second T20I in Indore and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. This win also extended India’s unbeaten streak in bilateral T20I series at home to 15. The last time they lost a home T20I series was in 2019, when Australia beat them 2-0.
After being sent in, Afghanistan rode on Gulbadin Naib‘s 57 off 35 balls before India applied the brakes. But a late assault from Karim Janat and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who scored a combined 41 off 19, lifted the visitors to 172.
During the chase, Fazalhaq Farooqi bowled Rohit Sharma for a first-ball duck. Rohit was out without scoring in the first T20I as well, where he was run out off his second ball. Virat Kohli, playing his first T20I since the 2022 T20 World Cup, also looked to attack right away. He was a lot more successful than his captain, scoring 29 off 16.
The stars of the match, though, were Jaiswal and Dube. The two seemed to be competing against each other with the Afghanistan bowlers looking incidental. Jaiswal reached his fifty off 27 balls and Dube off just 22 as both tried to send every possible ball to the boundary. As a result, India chased down their target in just 15.4 overs.
Naib leads Afghanistan’s charge
Rahmanullah Gurbaz gave Afghanistan a quick start, hitting the first legal delivery of the first over for a four and the first one of the second for a six. But his stay was short-lived as he fell to Ravi Bishnoi for 14 off nine.
No. 3 Naib ensured Afghanistan did not lose their momentum. He hit back-to-back fours off Mukesh Kumar before topping it with 6, 4, 4 off Bishnoi in the next over. He ended the powerplay with yet another boundary, taking Afghanistan to 58 for 2 after six.
At the other end, Shivam Dube castled Azmatullah Omarzai with a back-of-the-hand slower ball. But Naib took a liking to him, hitting the medium-pacer for two sixes in his next over, the ninth. Between those two hits, he had a slice of luck as well, when Kohli, charging in from long-on, shelled a difficult low chance. Naib was on 41 then. He brought up his fifty shortly afterwards, off just 28 balls.
Axar applies the brakes
Axar Patel has looked a far more complete bowler since his return from the quadriceps strain that had ruled him out of the 2023 ODI World Cup. During the forced break, he worked on slowing down his pace and is now reaping the rewards.
Introduced in the sixth over, he turned one past Ibrahim Zadran’s outside edge to hit the off stump. Then, in the 12th, he bowled one from well behind the popping crease, thus changing the length without a change in action, to have Naib caught at short midwicket. Bowling his four overs in a single spell, Axar finished with 2 for 17. Naib’s wicket put the brakes on the scoring rate – Afghanistan managed just 27 in five overs, from 12 to 16.
Afghanistan finish strongly
Najibullah Zadran was on 6 off 15 before he got stuck into Bishnoi. In the 17th over, he hit the legspinner for two sixes and a four. When he departed, Janat and Mujeeb took over and smashed Dube for 20 in the penultimate over of the innings. Despite Arshdeep Singh giving away only eight in the final over, which included four wickets (including two via run-outs), Afghanistan scored 55 in the last four.
Rohit was run out in the first T20I when Shubman Gill did not respond to his call for a quick single. Tonight, in his 150th T20I, his early dismissal owed less to misfortune. Facing his first ball, he moved towards the leg side in an attempt to pull Farooqi. He missed and Farooqi hit the top of off stump.
Kohli, who had missed the first game for personal reasons, opened his account by smashing Mujeeb over extra cover. In the same over, he swept a similar delivery to the deep midwicket fence. In all, he hit five fours in 16 balls. When he was caught at mid-off off Naveen-ul-Haq, the crowd was disappointed, but this might have been exactly the approach the team management wanted him to adopt.
The Jaiswal-Dube show
Jaiswal had kicked off India’s chase by cutting Farooqi to the point boundary. In the seamer’s next over, he hit a straight six before offering a return chance. Farooqi failed to hold onto it and then watched the next ball sailing over deep square leg for six more. Jaiswal was equally severe on Mujeeb, hitting him for a hat-trick of fours in the fifth over. At the end of the powerplay, India had raced to 69 for 2.
Dube took some time to get going. He was on a run-a-ball 7 but soon he was outpacing Jaiswal. It started with him launching Noor Ahmad over long-off before he clobbered Mohammad Nabi for three successive sixes. After ten overs, India’s required rate had come down to 5.70.
Jaiswal and Dube added 92 in just seven overs. By the time Jaiswal was out for 68 off 34, India needed only 19 off 45 balls. Jitesh Sharma fell for a second-ball duck before Dube, 63 not out off 32, and Rinku Singh took India over the line.