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CWC 2019 – India v Afghanistan: 5 key talking points

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

CWC 2019 – India v Afghanistan: 5 key talking points. IND vs AFG: 5 key talking points from their CWC 2019 match.

Who said you can’t enjoy a weekend comfortable on the couch? Enjoying what has been an incredible two days in CWC 2019?

Let’s be straight up. Things were not looking promising 48 hours ago. The top four looked close to set with a number of group games still to play. However, what this weekend has thrown up so far has been brilliant, with Afghanistan pushing India all the way in a magnificent performance.

The Indians were far from their best. They will be the first to admit that. But, nothing can be taken away from an Afghanistan side who build on the positives they showed against England.

Below are five key talking points from a low-scoring thriller in Southampton.

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1. Jasprit Bumrah is the best bowler in the world

“We wanted Bumrah to bowl over 49 to give Shami enough runs to defend in the final over”, said Virat Kohli after the match. That just about sums it up, doesn’t it?

Those who said Jasprit Bumrah is just as important to India’s World Cup chances as Virat Kohli knew what they were on about. India were certainly worried of being on the wrong end of one of the all-time World Cup upsets, before Bumrah delivered two crucial spells that won the game for his side.

The first was in the middle overs, dismissing set batsmen Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi in quick time. Then, the main meal arrived – a dish full of exquisite yorkers executed so beautifully against an on-song Mohammad Nabi, reminding everyone of the adaptability, quality and calmness of Bumrah across formats. Nine of his final 12 balls were perfect yorkers, which was the catalyst of India’s 11-run win despite Mohammed Shami’s fine spell and hat-trick.

CWC 2019 - India v Afghanistan: 5 key talking points. IND vs AFG: 5 key talking points from their CWC 2019 match.
Photo by Stu Forster-IDI/IDI via Getty Images. India v Afghanistan: 5 key talking points – Bumrah was superb.

2. Virat Kohli set the template

Virat Kohli scored above a run-a-ball. It seemed he batted on a different pitch to everyone else. When you hear his analysis after the game, it’s easy to see why he does so well so often.

Kohli adjusted to the conditions quicker and better than everyone else. He knew right away that horizontal bat shots on a slow pitch were too difficult to execute, focusing on playing straight bat shots to put pressure on the bowlers and pick up runs.

The numbers were damning. Kohli scored 68 off 63 balls (6.60 RPO). The rest of his teammates scored a combined 150 runs off 237 balls (3.81 RPO). Kohli set the syllabus. The others struggled in the exam.

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3. The template for India’s opponents is set

Virat Kohli set the template for his own team here. However, the template is well and truly set for opposition teams looking to knock India over in CWC 2019.

Indeed, India remain one of the teams to beat (if not the team to beat) despite a scratchy performance. However, get the better of India’s top order and you give yourself a great chance of winning. Here, Afghanistan never let India get away early, picking up wickets in the middle overs to put pressure on India’s middle order. The response from the Indians was odd to say the least.

MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav looked in fear against spin. It was all about just seeing them out. Even if it meant at the expense of actually scoring runs. The death overs began with India scoring just two off each of the first two overs, giving the innings no momentum heading into the final overs. Yes, the pitch wasn’t the easiest, but the lack of strike rotation was a disappointing aspect of Kedar and Dhoni’s partnership that used up 84 balls to score 57 runs. In the end, Dhoni tried to slog one out of the park only to get stumped, creating doubts over whether India’s middle order can truly rise to the occasion if needed in really big games.

CWC 2019 - India v Afghanistan: 5 key talking points. IND vs AFG: 5 key talking points from their CWC 2019 match.
Image: AP. India v Afghanistan: 5 key talking points – Dhoni played a strange innings.

4. Afghanistan produce the performance they are capable of

Afghanistan were never expected to make the Semi Finals. However, they were expected to put up much better performances than they have to date.

Ill-discipline, poor concentration and lack of confidence has plagued their campaign. Indeed, their team management has a big part to play in this, with a string of disgraceful decisions that has hurt the team’s progress. However, they were magnificent in this game, going toe-to-toe with India right the way through, denied mainly by Jasprit Bumrah who is the world’s best bowler.

Also readRant: Team management hurting Afghanistan badly.

After fighting efforts from Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi reminded us just how good a cricketer he is. His 2/33 off nine overs preceded an incredible half century that very nearly got Afghanistan over the line, outplaying the Indian middle order with his intent-filled batting.

Indeed, it is a case of so close yet so far for Afghanistan, but there is every reason to be optimistic about their best performance in CWC 2019 to date.

CWC 2019 - India v Afghanistan: 5 key talking points. IND vs AFG: 5 key talking points from their CWC 2019 match.
Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs. India v Afghanistan: 5 key talking points – Mohammad Nabi was mighty cool in the chase.

5. Afghanistan’s spinners show their class

Mujeeb ur Rahman dismissed Rohit Sharma with a peach. You then felt Afghanistan’s spinners could play a very key role. That they did, combining beautifully to stifle India so much that not a single 10 over period throughout India’s innings yielded at least 50 runs.

Rashid Khan bounced back beautifully after a day to forget against England. Mujeeb ur Rahman, who went for just 44 in a total of 397 by England a few days earlier, went for just 26 here. Mohammad Nabi just 33 in nine. The accuracy and discipline Afghanistan bowled with as a whole was a sight to behold, yielding just seven extras – a far cry from the 35 they bowled against Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament.

Even part-timer Rahmat Shah came in on the act with 1/22 off five overs. All in all, Afghanistan’s spinners conceded a combined 5/119 off 34 overs, reminding us of just how talented they are and giving their team a chance of pulling off a great upset. Bangladesh are next, and they better watch out for an Afghanistan side finding their feet in CWC 2019.

Thanks for reading!

Download: Making cricket an interactive experience! Discover Harrison Cricket Apps ODI version. For full screenshots, click here.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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