9.57pm And that is that. India are still alive, even if the task ahead of them is still improbable. Afghanistan are still second in this group. It’s all building up towards a tense final few group games for these two sides and New Zealand. It’s all about the other group tomorrow, of course, and there’s quite a bit of tension there too. We’ll meet again in tomorrow’s first game, and see how Australia manage their currently dire NRR situation, and whether Bangladesh can throw a spanner into their campaign. Until then, it’s goodbye from Varun, Raghav and myself.
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Virat Kohli: “Much better wicket as well, to be fair. In the other two games as well, if we just had two overs of that free-flowing batting capability, that could have sent the message to the opposition that we’ve put them under pressure. T20 is a very instinctive game, even in terms of decision-making. The top three is more or less set unless something like today happens, when the top two go on until over 14 or 15. We don’t decide we’re going all out. We back the guys because they’re so skillful, and sometimes it comes off like today. To give credit to the oppositions, they bowled really well in the first two matches and didn’t let us get away. NRR was on the back of our mind. We spoke in the team meeting that we have to focus on the chance we have [to qualify] and stay positive and hunt that chance down. The return of Ash was a real positive, it was something he has worked really hard for. He showed this control and rhythm in the IPL as well. He’s a wicket taker and a smart bowler as well.”
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Mohammad Nabi: “We wanted to bat second because of the dew, and the wicket looked really good for batting. In the end there wasn’t that much dew, but India batted really well on this pitch and put our bowlers under pressure. We didn’t rotate strike well in the middle, and we threw away our wickets and got under pressure.”
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Rohit Sharma, the player of the match: “We wanted to get off to a good start which didn’t happen in the first two games. There was a conscious effort to lay a good platform for the other batters to express themselves later. Exceptional batting from KL as well. Looking at the trend, they’ve batted first in all their games. We were looking to field first, but it was a good pitch to bat on. A good start and a respectable total were very important from our side. We knew run rate could come into play and we wanted to win by a good margin, glad that we did that. Whatever the team requires, I’ll try to do that. Today the need was for a quick start, normally I try to assess early on but today I had to play a bit differently.”
9.42pm Just the performance India would have wanted today, to keep themselves hanging on by their fingernails. Afghanista went against their usual template by choosing to chase, and India really pummeled their bowling on what was possibly the flattest pitch of this tournament so far. Superb displays with the bat from Rahul, Rohit, Pant and Pandya, and the bowlers did their job by and large to close out a 66-run win. India’s NRR is now in positive territory, at 0.073, and they have games against Scotland and Namibia to come. Afghanistan remain in second place above New Zealand, their batters doing just enough to ensure they don’t dip too far in terms of NRR.Karthik: “Costly 20 odd runs given by IND towards the end. Could’ve bowled with a bit more discipline at the end.” – Janat batted really well too.James: “Group 2 is fascinating. Afghanistan have lost to India and Pakistan (could happen to anyone), and India have lost to New Zealand and Pakistan (could also happen to anyone).”Saumil: “We want an Afghanistan-New Zealand tie to make it easy for India to sail through!” – Unfortunately for you and every other India fan, there are Super Overs in the league stage too!Xyz: “The points table almost looked same in both grps before this match .Two teams who topped the super 12s at the bottem . Two teams who were favorites to win the cup at 5 . Other two teams from super 12 at 4 . Two realy strong teams but aiming for nrr at 3. Two unexpected contenders for the final at 2 . Two teams who are having a dream run at 1. Wow .”