T20 World Cup, India humble Afghanistan: Records broken
India thrashed Afghanistan in their third match of the 2021 T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. They registered the highest total of the ongoing tournament and defended it successfully. The one-sided win will bolster the Net Run Rate of India, who won their first game of this T20 WC edition. The Virat Kohli-led side is still in contention to reach the semi-finals.
India were off to a flier after Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi elected to field. Team India rode on phenomenal knocks by Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. The duo shared a 140-run stand before the former departed. Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya took the onus thereafter, guiding India to 210/2. Afghanistan stumbled in the run-chase and were later restricted to 144/7.
Rohit and Rahul went out all guns blazing. The former went on to smash his 23rd half-century in T20I cricket. He finished with 74 off 47 balls with the help of 8 fours and 3 sixes. This was his 15th 50+ score in the format since 2017. His opening partner Rahul registered his 13th T20I half-century (69 off 48).
Rohit and Rahul now have the joint-second-most century partnerships in T20 Internationals (4). Shikhar Dhawan-Rohit and Kane Williamson-Martin Guptill are the other pairs to have achieved this feat. Furthermore, Rohit and Rahul stitched the highest partnership for India in the T20 World Cup history.
Rohit slammed his seventh 50+ score in the T20 World Cup. He now has the joint-third-most scores of 50 or more in the tournament along with Mahela Jayawardene. Virat Kohli (10) and Chris Gayle (9) are the top two batters on this list.
While the Indian openers carried out their onslaught in the first half, Pant and Pandya took care of the death overs. The dynamic duo powered India to 210, the highest total of the 2021 T20 World Cup so far. This is also India's second-highest total in T20 World Cups. Their highest total was registered in 2007 (218/4 vs England, Durban).
Ashwin stole the show on his comeback in white-ball cricket. He outfoxed the Afghanistan batters with his deceptive variations. The senior off-spinner took his first wicket in T20I cricket since August 2016. This was his first T20I appearance in over four years. He last played a T20I in July 2017 (vs WI). Ashwin snapped up two wickets for just 14 runs in four overs.
Pant and Pandya scored 63 runs between them in just 21 balls. They smashed 5 fours and as many sixes together. Interestingly, this is the first time Virat Kohli did not bat in his T20I career whenever India batted first. Rahul and Rohit registered the fourth-highest opening partnership in the T20 WC history. India recorded the second-highest total by a team against Afghanistan (T20Is).