Two-time champions India came up with a splendid bowling performance as they beat Afghanistan by 11 runs in the ICC World Cup 2019 at The Rose Bowl in Southampton on Saturday.
While Indian skipper Virat Kohli delivered with the bat, the real match-winners were the pacers, who helped India reign supreme in the low-scoring encounter.
Here are the key takeaways.
India won the toss and elected to bat first on a track which assisted spin. And, they were off to a shaky start.
Meanwhile, Kohli played a healthy innings of 67. It was followed by Kedar Jadhav's frightful 52, as India posted an average total of 224/8.
In reply, India bowled tight right from the start, to script the win.
Rohit Sharma couldn't repeat the heroics against Afghans as he fell after scoring only a single run.
While he was expected to fire, we feel that he was being over-cautious, as he scored a run off ten deliveries.
Moreover, his dismissal also exposed his likely weakness against turning ball, as teams are likely to start off with spin against him.
Although Kohli would have liked to stick longer on the crease and propel India to a big total, he still was the top scorer for the side, contributing crucial 67 runs.
While the pitch was a hard one to bat on, he ignored it and played his natural game, making things look so easy.
Undoubtedly, he is the best ODI batsman right now.
While India had seemingly solved the number four conundrum with KL Rahul, opener Shikhar Dhawan's injury has forced Vijay Shankar to take the spot.
However, he couldn't create an impact today.
The management would definitely give him a couple of more games before trying out Dinesh Karthik.
If India win their next match, they might be tempted to tinker around with XI.
India did manage to play out the entire quota. However, they did struggle to score, notably against the spinners.
Also, it felt at a point that they were being too defensive against the spin.
While they scored 105 against the pacers off 96 deliveries, they could only manage 119 against the spinners.
A little more aggressive approach could have helped them to post 250.
While Hardik Pandya was the most expensive bowler for India, he did bowl smartly.
Despite giving away 51 runs, he managed to take a couple of important wickets of skipper Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran.
Moreover, he displayed his intelligence by bowling short to the Afghan batsmen, who clearly were not comfortable facing those deliveries.
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