Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Jadeja was named Man of the Match for crippling Afghanistan’s batting line-up
India’s opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane both smashed half-centuries and spinner Ravindra Jadeja claimed four wickets to help their side cruise past Afghanistan by eight wickets.
The trio were well supported by spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who took three wickets.
India captain Viat Kohli would have been over the moon with his decision to bowl first as Afghanistan opening batsman Nawroz Mangal was clean bowled by Mohammed Shami for five runs.
Rahmat Shah only made nine runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Jadeja.
Noor Ali Zadran managed to make 31 runs before he was caught by Kohli in the slip region off the bowling of Jadeja.
Asghar Stanikzai scored five runs before he was caught by Amit Mishra at mid-on off the bowling of Jadeja.
Najibullah Zadran also made five runs before he was caught by Stuart Binny, who was the substitute fielder, at mid-off off the bowling of Ashwin.
Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi failed to have an impact as well as he was caught behind for just six runs to become Jadeja’s fourth victim of the match.
Wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad made a rapid 22 before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Ashwin.
Mirwais Ashrad only made nine runs before he was caught by Kohli at slip off the bowling of Mishra.
Shapoor Zadran fared no better as he made one run before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Ashwin.
Samiullah Shenwari was the standout performer for Afghanistan as he scored 50 off 73 balls, which included six boundaries and a six, before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Shami.
Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Ashwin snapped up three, Shami claimed two and Mishra chipped in with one as Afghanistan were bowled out for 159.
Chasing 160 to win, India got off to an outstanding start as their opening pair of Dhawan and Rahane amassed a 121-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Rahane was given out lbw off the bowling of Ashraf.
Rahane’s fantastic knock of 56 came off 66 balls and included five boundaries.
Dhawan ended up making 60 off 78 deliveries, which included four boundaries and a six, before he was clean bowled by Nabi.
Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik polished off the remaining runs with relative ease and led India home with more than 17 overs to spare.
Nabi and Ashraf picked up one wicket apiece.
Despite losing the match, Nabi was pleased with his team’s performance throughout the tournament, and said: “Great tournament for us, we have proved we are a good team in Asia after the Full Members. [The] Win over Bangladesh is good sign for us. Ashwin and Jadeja bowled brilliantly, we started well in first ten overs. Big celebration in Afghanistan (after our win over Bangladesh). If there are more matches against Full Members, it is good experience for Afghanistan.”
Kohli was pleased to have won the match, but admitted that he was disappointed that India failed to qualify for the final.
“Complete performance from the team,” he said. “Hard to motivate yourselves when you have been travelling and are out of contention for the final. Being more relaxed worked for us, we were quite tense in the earlier games. [The] Idea was to give guys time in the middle. Someone like Ajinkya who has scored on and off, it is good to give them some confidence, even Dinesh Karthik was sent up the order. We have to be patient with them and the results will follow.
“We started off quite well, we committed crucial mistakes against Pakistan and SL and we lost close games. Amit Mishra coming in and bowling well against Pakistan, that was good to see. [I] Am happy with the way the team showed their character.”
Jadeja was named Man of the Match for ripping through Afghanistan’s batting line-up, and said: “[The] Wicket was slow, I was trying to bowl slow, so that I could get some turn. You know that wicket is always going to be slow in Bangladesh. Before the game started, Duncan [Fletcher] told us this also counts an an ODI, so you guys be serious, we were focussed on the game.”