India beat Afghanistan by 23 runs
Virat Kohli hit 50 to set up India's 23 run win in their 2012 ICC World Twenty20 match against Afghanistan at Colombo on Wednesday.
Put in to bat first, India were rocked by a strong show from Shapoor Zadran who dismissed Gautam Gambhir (10) and Virender Sehwag (8) early, leaving India at 22/2 in the 5th over. Kohli however attacked right from the start and found the boundaries regularly. He steadied the innings with two partnerships of 46 runs each for the 3rd and 4th wicket with Yuvraj Singh (18) and Suresh Raina (38). They were helped by the Afghanistan fielders who dropped Yuvraj and Virat once and Raina twice.
Afghanistan finally held on to a catch right after Kohli reached his half century, he was dismissed for 50 (39b, 4x4, 6x2). MS Dhoni (18*) and Raina found it hard to hit boundaries at will but managed to take India to 159/5 at the end of their 20 overs.
Afghanistan's top order came out blazing and Zaheer Khan was at the receiving end in the third over. Balaji broke the opening partnership in the 4th over with the wicket of Mohammad Shahzad (18) but Nawroz Mangal and new man Karim Sadiq (26) kept going at a good rate with an audacious attack on the seamers that prompted Dhoni to bring in his part timers. Rohit fared no well, conceding 10 runs but Yuvraj struck with his first ball to send back Mangal (22).
Sadiq and Asghar Stanikzai carried the score to 75/2 in the 12th over when their innings began to unravel. Yuvraj struck twice in the 12th over and Ashwin held a sharp return catch as Afghanistan slid to 76/5.
13 runs came from Yuvraj's (3/24) next over with two sixes and that was followed by Irfan Pathan winning a LBW appeal which turned out to be inside edged by Shafiqullah. Afghanistan were 100/6 after 15 overs when Zaheer returned; Mohammad Nabi took him on successfully and 16 came off the over leaving the Afghans with 44 to get off 24. A mishit off Ashwin (2/20) in the next over saw Nabi (31) caught at mid off by Rohit Sharma.
A limping Najibullah Zadran came out on the wrong side of a very close run out call in the 17th over leaving Afghanistan to get 34 off the last 2 overs. Irfan Pathan (1/29) conceded 10 off it still leaving Afghanistan with the tough task of making 24 off the last over. L Balaji (3/19) conceded none; he had Gulbodin Naib caught at mid off by Raina off a short ball with the second ball of his over. The third was a yorker which crashed in to the base of off and middle to bowl Dawlat Zadran and end the Afghan innings at 136.
Virat Kohli picked up the Man of the Match award, his seventh award of the year for his third consecutive 50 in T20 Internationals.