Afghanistan v India, World T20 2012, Group A, Colombo September 19, 2012

Top shots and clumsy drops

Plays of the Day from the Group A clash between Afghanistan and India

The shot I
Mohammad Shahzad, the stocky Afghanistan wicketkeeper and an MS Dhoni fan, had promised in an interview before this game to play the helicopter shot. He got injured while keeping wicket, he did not last long with the bat, but he proved true to his word. In the third over of the chase, he stayed in the crease to a full Zaheer Khan delivery and helicopter-whipped it through square leg, stopping his follow through halfway and holding it for effect, delight clearly visible in his expression.

The shot II
India were two down for not many when Yuvraj Singh walked in, five years to the evening that he had swung Stuart Broad for six successive sixes in Durban. Shapoor Zadran, the left-arm fast bowler had dismissed both Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir and was charging in. After three dot balls, Yuvraj released the pressure with a vintage hit, easing forward and launching a length delivery for a straight six with a follow through that oozed elegance as well as power.

The moment I
India had just lost their third wicket, Yuvraj, in the previous over, when Suresh Raina spooned a simple chance to the bowler Mohammad Nabi in the 12th over. Nabi put it down and Afghanistan lost their first chance to extend the pressure on India, who at the time were 73 for 3.

The moment II
In the very next over Virat Kohli, who was chiefly responsible for lifting India out of their initial stupor, swung Karim Sadiq straight to wide long-on, where Samiullah Shenwari fluffed another straightforward catch. Sadiq sank to the ground, hands on head. India could have been five down had both the chances been held. Given how close Afghanistan came in the chase, who knows what could have been.

The dismissal
It has become a regular occurrence and now a running joke. Gautam Gambhir pokes outside off, Gautam Gambhir falls. The mode may differ, outside edge to slip, outside edge to the wicketkeeper, or, as it happened today, inside edge onto the stumps, but the result is the same. England will be waiting, for the group game as well as for the upcoming Test series.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 20, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    Love u Afghan team, u were near to win the game.

    Dear ICC, attention on Afghan team

  • Milind on September 20, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    Dhoni needs to be bit innovative and take risks. If Gambhir fails against Eng too ,bring in Tiwary as opener who can bowl 2 overs of legspin as well. Sehwag has been pathetic but for his x factor needs

    to stay cos day he fires match is won in 10 overs. The day he fails send in bhaji as pinch hitter,even 2-3 sixes by bhaji in 10 balls as pinch hitter are enough for other batters to bat normally and

    reach 180+ .Bhaji replaces zak.If Sehwag fire that day bhaji comes lower down order. . Replace Balaji with dinda. Dhoni should come before yuvi and keep UV,raina, rohit,pathan,to come after him to

    consolidate if he fails and dhoni should target scoring 35 of 15 odd balls, in other words play like Dhoni of old.Dinda is under rated and is good for T20 format.By these risk we stand good chance to score 180+ most of matches.

  • Anand on September 20, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    If india need to lift the cup Sehwag and Gambhir need to fire and also the pacers need to fire or else it is all over.

  • Ali on September 20, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    @fast_track_bully,for Sure Afghanistan is better side than india ,seems Afghans r ready to give results after Pakistanis effort to make AFG team a Power

  • Dummy4 on September 20, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    Gambhir and Sehwag are clearly struggling at the top, as is Zaheer Khan, but India has no bench strength to relieve them. Manoj Tiwary could be one, but Ashok Dinda, Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla's selection to the team could be termed as 'ridiculous'. This is the world cup, and only the best should have made it.

  • fawad on September 20, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    shehzad khan and Nabi we are proud to have you both we will pray for a good performance against england

  • Dummy4 on September 20, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    Gambhir has accuumulated a lot of runs via his silly looking dabs outside the off stump, something he did with a lot of confidence. The confidence seems to have deserted him, and now they look like a joke.

  • kanas on September 20, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    @papu bhai: Cud very well be true,luckily SL didnt had to face Afghans.

  • Nanda Kumar on September 20, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    Great Show by the Afgans. Now to develop them into a serious cricket playing country the ICC and more particularly the BCCI must take initatives to develop the game there. BCCI with all its riches must get the Afgans to participate in the Ranji Trophy ( atleast in the Plate tournament). This will help give the Afgans an exposure to varied conditions and to the longer form of the game. Given the security conditions in Afganisatan I do not see any team or professional visiting that country in a long time. But BCCI can sponser the traning of some of their physios. This will help improve the fitness levels. In addition may be some of their past players with the right aptitue and attitude could get trained as coaches. The India Govt is sponsoring a number of non military projects in Afganisatan and hence BCCI should be able to get approvals for all these initiatives. Kenya briefly looked like becoming a serious cricket playing country but have fallen behind. Afganisatan should be encourage

  • Manesh on September 20, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    Afgan will be the second best team in Asia after India. As we can see SL is pathetic after Murali , Pakistan do not have one batsman who can hold the bat and compare BD abilitys in international level is a joke, Afg can be the better side at least in Asian conditions. Hope they will beat England.

  • No featured comments at the moment.