Men in Blue defeat Afghanistan in first T20I

Rohit Sharma made a tame comeback to T20Is, getting run out for zero, although India defeated Afghanistan in the first game in Mohali. Shivam Dube had a more successful return, taking 1/9 and then scoring an unbeaten half-century, as the Men in Blue successfully chased 159.

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Dube showcased his batting skills against both spin and pace after dismissing Afghanistan captain Ibrahim Zadran with a well-placed delivery. IPL star Jitesh Sharma came in to bat in the ninth over and smashed 31 runs off 20 balls. The Men in Blue put up a dominant display despite not featuring many of its star players.

Arshdeep Singh began his spell with a maiden, before Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim found their rhythm in the powerplay. Ibrahim could have been out for 1 but Dube dropped a catch at mid-off in the third over. However, India’s all-rounder got Ibrahim caught at short cover in the ninth over. Just as Gurbaz looked set to accelerate, Axar Patel dismissed him for 23 off 28 balls.

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Axar took two crucial wickets, including that of T20I debutant Rahmat Shah for 3 off 5 balls. He finished with impressive figures of 2/23 in his four overs. Washington Sundar, meanwhile, bowled a tight penultimate over, giving away 13 runs and almost taking a tough return catch.

Mohammad Nabi (42), Azmatullah Omarzai (29), and Najibullah Zadran (19*) boosted Afghanistan’s innings in the slog overs. Despite Omarzai and Nabi departing in the same over, Najibullah’s efforts helped Afghanistan reach a competitive total.

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