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
30

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

  • on September 20, 2012, 18:14 GMT

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

    Dear ICC, attention on Afghan team

  • mgr125128 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.

  • Expansion 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.

  • S-A-M-1994 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

  • 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.

  • Mollakhel 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

  • 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.

  • Htc-Baseball on September 20, 2012, 5:39 GMT

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

  • cnksnk 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

  • Fast_Track_Bully 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.

  • on September 20, 2012, 18:14 GMT

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

    Dear ICC, attention on Afghan team

  • mgr125128 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.

  • Expansion 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.

  • S-A-M-1994 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

  • 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.

  • Mollakhel 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

  • 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.

  • Htc-Baseball on September 20, 2012, 5:39 GMT

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

  • cnksnk 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

  • Fast_Track_Bully 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.

  • on September 20, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    just one thing. well played afghans.

  • on September 20, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    Stupidity of conceding many extra runs through no balls and butter fingered fielding cost the vital opening match of Group A to Afghanistan. Helicopter shot of Dhoni fame had been executed by wicket keeper batsman Mohommad Shazad to perfection and he looked very proud man. Hat off to cricket minnows Afghanistan for their brave performance.

  • subbuamdavadi on September 20, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    Unpatriotic as I may sound, I was actually rooting for Afghanistan to win yesterday. Not because I do not like the Indian team - but there is always a soft corner for the underdog.....the same emotion that made many people celebrate India's win over the West Indies in the 1983 Prudential Cup....I believe Afghanistan will go places, if they receive proper funding and guidance and opportunities to play regularly...

  • on September 20, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    The overall poor fielding caused us lose the match, let's be agree with the provision that says, Catches Loses Matches. Still well played Afghanistan and congratulations to India!!!

  • mrgupta on September 20, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    Sehwag, Gambhr and Zak are clearly struggling. When a batsman of a much lower ranked team thrashes Zak like Nabi did yesterday he should understand that his days in T20 are over. Dinda or Yadav should be given chances. Either or Sehwag and Gambhir must also be dropped, Rahane has been doing well in T20 matches (IPL). If India has to have any chances of reaching Semis then Dhoni needs to take tough calls. Cannot rely overly on Kohli alone.

  • Pappu_bhai on September 20, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    Is Afgan A better team compared to SL?As afganistan atleast fights unlike SL who always fail against India without a fight.

  • on September 20, 2012, 2:20 GMT

    @cricraz :Did i read Nadeem shrawan???? haha when did they started playing cricket... Shd b shahbaz nadeem i guess.. anyways i agree with most people that gambhir, zaheer & sehwag should be "RESTED" and manoj, chawla & dinda should be included... just like kangaroos dropped hussey,no emotions when u r trying to pick ur best eleven who will represent country at world stage !!!

  • Vnott on September 20, 2012, 1:41 GMT

    Gambhir and Sehwag are still Indias best openers. In T-20, Gambhir has not been as consistent as one dayers. One dayers he is still the top 2 performers along with Virat. His numbers in 2012 are an average of 50+ in 1-day and 36 in T-20. Cant complain with that. As long as they can give a brisk start, we just enjoy the show. Both of them can win matches on their own and will do so.

    Gambhir T-20 year 2012 6 6 2 144 56* 36.00 124 116.12 Sehwag has strangely played 4 T-20s in the last 2-3 years. Guess he has missed more than he has played....

  • harsidhu on September 20, 2012, 0:45 GMT

    why india playing 7 batsma? they must drop gambir or sehwag and bring back bhajji bcoz he is still the world class ........... DHONI stop favourism.

  • rohithreddy on September 19, 2012, 23:51 GMT

    I think Zak's days are pretty much over now.. he was a great servant to the team but he has to realize that he is a great liability to the T20 team not rather than an asset.. he can still continue is test for about an year but he is very much past his sell by date in limited overs cricket.. same goes true for Viru n Gauti also.. perform or perish.. there are lots of youngsters waiting in the line for an opportunity...

  • Patchmaster on September 19, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    WOW - India we SO lucky.......Hard luck Afgan, if you had held two chances, you would have beaten them, no probs.

  • cricraz on September 19, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    I agree with dropping Sehwag, Dhoni and Zaheer but please dont replace with Bhajji as "Street_smart" suggests. It would be nice to have Rahane, Tiwary and Dinda. They should have taken Rahul sharma and Iqbal Abulla or Nadeem shravan instead of Piyush chawla and Bhajji!! Yusuf pathan would have been good choice given that spinners are going to dominate this T20. He plays spinners well but cant play on bouncy fast tracks.

  • kitten on September 19, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    I agree with street_smart's comments that Zaheer, Sehwag, and Gambhir should be dropped. India is playing for the WC, and sentiments should be put aside. Sehwag, and Gambhir should be rested. As far as Zaheer is concerned, I feel he is feeling his age, and he should only be used for Tests, and the younger players given a chance to show what they are capable of. Dinda or even Yadav would certainly perform better that he has over the last few games. Tiwari will do much better than Sehwag or Gambhir have done so far. But I feel, Dhoni and the selectors will give them one more chance against England, and for India's sake, I hope they play better and give India the start that they have never had recently. It makes a helluva lot of difference when India is given a start of fifty or sixty, and with players in form like Virat, Raina, Rohit(recently) and Dhoni, India will in all probability post a total close to 200 every time.

  • dalok on September 19, 2012, 20:57 GMT

    Agreed, we need dominant performance from Indian openers in first 5 overs. Don't believe I am saying this but Sehwag and Gambhir are just not doing it. I probably would like to see another specialist bowler too. So far I am impressed with SL and Pakistan. I am a little pessimistic about India's chances. Hope I am wrong!

  • jackthelad on September 19, 2012, 19:55 GMT

    Like most people, I was impressed by the Afghanistan performance (against a team which, at least in its own imagination, is one of the top cricketing sides in the world) - but they need to be taken home and given hard graft in the unglamorous arts of Fielding Properly and Not Giving Away Needless Runs With Extras; these are not the pretty-boy skills, but they win (or, in this case, lose) matches. Enthusiasm is great, but you also need application and work if you want to live with the big boys.

  • A__J on September 19, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    Look! Sehwag and Gambhir need to be given a chance, if they cannot perform in the next 2 matches then they need to learn the hard way. New batsman, tiwary, rahane all need to be given some exposure. For god sake dhoni, have some guts!!

    So impressed by the afghans! Amazing show today, sloppy fielding though. India really need to improve

  • street_smart on September 19, 2012, 19:18 GMT

    Drop zaheer, Sehwag & gambhir. Bring in Tiwary, dinda & bhajji. Dhoni show some balls to take bold decision

  • on September 19, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Both Gambhir and Sehwag have been selected based on the performance of last two years... It is really hurting team India chances. We have two walking wickets. I still hope there could be some form coming back for these two. This could be one of the reason why Dhoni is not opting for 5 bowlers strategy. The second reason could be the fact that there is no other bowler[Spinner] in the squad who can play as 5th bowler. Team is probably missing Ojha in these conditions... As long as Gambhir and Sehwag don't fire, India does not have batting advantage which could hide the perceived bowling weakness.

  • SurlyCynic on September 19, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    India were lucky to win this clash of the minnows, impressed with the Afghans.

  • on September 19, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    Time Rahane is given a chance at the top.....

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on September 19, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    Time Rahane is given a chance at the top.....

  • SurlyCynic on September 19, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    India were lucky to win this clash of the minnows, impressed with the Afghans.

  • on September 19, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Both Gambhir and Sehwag have been selected based on the performance of last two years... It is really hurting team India chances. We have two walking wickets. I still hope there could be some form coming back for these two. This could be one of the reason why Dhoni is not opting for 5 bowlers strategy. The second reason could be the fact that there is no other bowler[Spinner] in the squad who can play as 5th bowler. Team is probably missing Ojha in these conditions... As long as Gambhir and Sehwag don't fire, India does not have batting advantage which could hide the perceived bowling weakness.

  • street_smart on September 19, 2012, 19:18 GMT

    Drop zaheer, Sehwag & gambhir. Bring in Tiwary, dinda & bhajji. Dhoni show some balls to take bold decision

  • A__J on September 19, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    Look! Sehwag and Gambhir need to be given a chance, if they cannot perform in the next 2 matches then they need to learn the hard way. New batsman, tiwary, rahane all need to be given some exposure. For god sake dhoni, have some guts!!

    So impressed by the afghans! Amazing show today, sloppy fielding though. India really need to improve

  • jackthelad on September 19, 2012, 19:55 GMT

    Like most people, I was impressed by the Afghanistan performance (against a team which, at least in its own imagination, is one of the top cricketing sides in the world) - but they need to be taken home and given hard graft in the unglamorous arts of Fielding Properly and Not Giving Away Needless Runs With Extras; these are not the pretty-boy skills, but they win (or, in this case, lose) matches. Enthusiasm is great, but you also need application and work if you want to live with the big boys.

  • dalok on September 19, 2012, 20:57 GMT

    Agreed, we need dominant performance from Indian openers in first 5 overs. Don't believe I am saying this but Sehwag and Gambhir are just not doing it. I probably would like to see another specialist bowler too. So far I am impressed with SL and Pakistan. I am a little pessimistic about India's chances. Hope I am wrong!

  • kitten on September 19, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    I agree with street_smart's comments that Zaheer, Sehwag, and Gambhir should be dropped. India is playing for the WC, and sentiments should be put aside. Sehwag, and Gambhir should be rested. As far as Zaheer is concerned, I feel he is feeling his age, and he should only be used for Tests, and the younger players given a chance to show what they are capable of. Dinda or even Yadav would certainly perform better that he has over the last few games. Tiwari will do much better than Sehwag or Gambhir have done so far. But I feel, Dhoni and the selectors will give them one more chance against England, and for India's sake, I hope they play better and give India the start that they have never had recently. It makes a helluva lot of difference when India is given a start of fifty or sixty, and with players in form like Virat, Raina, Rohit(recently) and Dhoni, India will in all probability post a total close to 200 every time.

  • cricraz on September 19, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    I agree with dropping Sehwag, Dhoni and Zaheer but please dont replace with Bhajji as "Street_smart" suggests. It would be nice to have Rahane, Tiwary and Dinda. They should have taken Rahul sharma and Iqbal Abulla or Nadeem shravan instead of Piyush chawla and Bhajji!! Yusuf pathan would have been good choice given that spinners are going to dominate this T20. He plays spinners well but cant play on bouncy fast tracks.

  • Patchmaster on September 19, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    WOW - India we SO lucky.......Hard luck Afgan, if you had held two chances, you would have beaten them, no probs.