India survived the biggest upset of the world cup this time on Saturday when Afghan team almost turned the match into a nail-biting contest, outclassing the Indian batsmen by their tight bowling.
Thanks to Mohammed Shami’s last over hat trick, which bowled out Afganistan batsmen at 213, twelve runs lesser than given target of 224.
Shami (9.5-1-40-4), playing his first match in the tournament, not only successfully defended 16 runs off the last over but also dismissed the dangerous Mohammed Nabi (52 off 55 balls), Aftab Alam (0) and Mujeebur Rahman (0) off successive deliveries to complete the rare feat.
In last over thriller on Saturday India beat Afganistan by 11 runs in ICC Cricket World Cup at Southampton, which helped the Men In Blue to remain unbeaten in the tournament after four matches.
Shami is the second Indian bowler after Chetan Sharma, who scored hat-trick in World Cup. In this nail biting match Afghanistan were bowled out for 213 in pursuit of a manageable 225 run target which at one stage looked gettable after the Indian middle-order flopped in their first World Cup test.
It was superb death bowling by Jasprit Bumrah (2/39 off 10 overs) and Shami that changed the complexion of the game. As much as Shami deserves the credit, Bumrah deserves equal plaudits for giving five runs in the 49th over.
The pitch being a tricky one, a target of 225 against a quality bowling attack wasn’t going to be easy. There were partnerships but there was always this belief that Afghanistan batting won’t be able to sustain the pressure of Indian bowling attack due to lack of experience.
Bumrah was lethal as ever and his two wickets in the 29th over literally tilted the game before the minnows made another comeback. From a relatively comfortable 106 for 2, it became 106 for 4 with Afghanistan losing the momentum of the game. Indian batting attack also failed to achieve a gentle target while Indian opening and middle order were not comfortable from the pitch. Also slow batting exhibition of MSDhoni-Kedar Yadav pulled back India to reach beyond 250 runs.