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  5. All-round Shivam Dube, miser Axar power India to comfortable win in chilly Mohali; take 1-0 lead in series

All-round Shivam Dube, miser Axar power India to comfortable win in chilly Mohali; take 1-0 lead in series

Team India made short work of a 159-run target in the first T20I against Afghanistan, winning the series opener with 15 balls to spare. Shivam Dube and Axar Patel starred for the Men in Blue as India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Edited By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Updated on: January 11, 2024 23:03 IST
Shivam Dube and Axar Patel during India's bowling innings
Image Source : AP Shivam Dube and Axar Patel during India's bowling innings in the first T20I in Mohali

Team India made light work of a target of 159 runs in the first T20I against Afghanistan by getting over the line with 15 balls to spare and six wickets in hand in wintry Mohali on Thursday, January 11. India recovered from an early blow in the very first over as the batters through the line-up kept getting the starts and contributed 20s and 30s before Shivam Dube smashed his second T20I fifty and stayed till the end to take his side home without much discomfort after the bowlers kept Afghanistan to a modest score on a good pitch at the PCA Stadium.

Afghanistan started slowly with the bat before both the openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and skipper Ibrahim Zadran got into their groove. However, since the start was slow, there was always pressure on both Gurbaz and Zadran to accelerate and the moment they started hitting, they lost wickets as Axar Patel didn't let the Afghan batters let loose.

Axar first dismissed Gurbaz before getting rid of Rahmat Shah as Dube accounted for Zadran from the other end as Afghanistan was suddenly three down from no loss at 50. Mohammad Nabi with his counter-attacking knock of 42 off just 27 balls and Najibullah Zadran with his unbeaten 11-ball 19 did help Afghanistan cover the lost ground but the slow start in the powerplay didn't let the visitors push for a 170-180 score, which could have been a good one on this track.

158 was never going to be challenging but the unfortunate run-out of skipper Rohit Sharma didn't help India's cause. Since then, all the Indian batters got starts as Shubman Gill scored a quickfire 23, and Tilak Varma took his time before recovering to get a 26-run score. Jitesh Sharma played exceptionally well for his 31 but the star of the show for India was Dube, who already had his tails up with a wicket in his kitty.

Dube ensured that India kept pushing towards the target with a six here or a couple of boundaries there before getting to his second T20I fifty off just 38 balls. Jitesh got out in the dying stages of the match but Dube made sure that he was there till the end with Rinku Singh alongside, providing the finishing touches. 

With Virat Kohli set to come back in the second game and Yashasvi Jaiswal likely to be fit, India are set to make a few changes in the second game despite the win. However, it seems that will be the order for the series, to try out players before the T20 World Cup 2024.

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