India 210 for 2 (Rohit 74, Rahul 69) beat Afghanistan 144 for 7 (Janat 42*, Nabi 35, Shami 3-32, Ashwin 2-14) by 66 runs
In the 2007 50-over World Cup, India followed up their crushing loss in their opening game to Bangladesh with a total blowout of Bermuda with a score of 413, the highest score of that World Cup. After two similar defeats in this T20 World Cup, India, have registered the highest score of this tournament, 210 against Afghanistan, and a big win as a result. However, India will hope that unlike in 2007, this win has some consequence. India will now hope Afghanistan upset New Zealand following which they can hope to correct their own net run-rate in the last match of the Super 12s, against Namibia.
WATCH – Rahul gets to his half-century with a four
Afghanistan field first
For only the third time in their last 16 won tosses, Afghanistan went against their formula of batting first and inserted India. There are three possible reasons for it: the tournament has been extraordinarily chase-friendly, there is heavy dew, and Afghanistan didn’t have Mujeeb. It was an interesting choice not just for these reasons but also because it spoke of their mindset. If Afghanistan felt defensive in Mujeeb’s absence, they could have batted first because you stand to lose more net-run-rate points when chasing and losing big.
On the other hand, India were looking for the win first and foremost and would have chased themselves.
WATCH – India beat Afghanistan by 66 runs
The Rohit-Rahul start
It is extremely difficult to look for anything that might have been different to India’s batting when compared to the previous two games. They had no left-arm swing, no extreme pace, no mystery spin to tackle here. The only real challenge for them was Rashid Khan, and even he would be half as effective given no support for him.
WATCH – Rohit unleashes slog sweep over the fence
As it turned out, Afghanistan opened the bowling with an offspinner against two right-hand batters, something you would never ever voluntarily do if you were at full strength. Mohammed Nabi might have got out of that first over with just seven runs conceded, but Sharafuddin Ashraf, who hardly turns his left-arm orthodox deliveries, was treated like an offspinner by KL Rahul. In just the first two overs of spin, India had hit three fours and a six; in 16 overs of spin in the previous two matches they had managed a total of three fours and no sixes.
Naveen-ul-Haq, too, was taken down in the powerplay, which India ended at 53 for 0.
Storm after a lull
Hamid Hassan bowled an excellent sixth over for just one run, which started a brief period of clawing back for Afghanistan. In the ninth over, though, Rahul ended a 20-ball boundary drought by helping a wayward Sharafuddin delivery down the leg side. Rahul and Rohit opened up again, and crucially they took down Rashid too. Rashid dealt almost exclusively in wrong’uns, and both the batters looked to hit him into the leg side. Rahul swept him for a four, and Rohit hit successive sixes: a loft over wide long-on and a slog-sweep. They both fell trying to accelerate but not before having out on 140.
WATCH – Ashwin takes his first T20I wicket in almost five years
Pandya-Pant finish off in style
This is the worst time to bowl to big hitters as they nothing to lose and they know there are more to come. With no real price on their wickets, Pant and Pandya hit five sixes and five fours between them to pulverise Afghanistan.
Shami, Bumrah set Afghanistan back
For Afghanistan to have any shot at the target, they needed a big start from Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad, but the pace and movement of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah was too good for them. Shami accounted for Shahzad at the end of the third over, and Bumrah for Zazai at the start of the fourth, making it 13 for 2.
WATCH – Shami gets rid of Nabi
Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Gulbadin Naib slaved some of the powerplay with some lusty blows, but the spinners pulled them right back. Playing together in limited-overs cricket for the first time since 2017, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin worked in partnership. With two right-hand batters in the middle, Jadeja was brought on first, but he struck in his first over to bring in a left-hand batter for Ashwin, who went on to take out the other right-hand batter first with a carrom ball. When he got rid of Najibullah Zadran, too, Afghanistan were staring at a highly damaging defeat at 69 for 5.
Nabi, Janat salvage something
Nabi and Karim Janat then played out the bowling till the start of the death overs, and then managed some quick runs to add 57 off 38 for the sixth wicket. Even though Nabi didn’t bat till the end, Janat ended up with 42 off 22 to take Afghanistan to 144, runs that might still prove crucial for one of the three teams.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
James Anderson sits out first Test with an eye on Adelaide pink-ball contest
BBL11 2021-22 – Bowling attack gives Melbourne Renegades hope of revival
The batting remains questionable and they will be looking for the youngsters to develop
Captain Nic Maddinson
Coach David Saker
Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, Jono Merlo (replacement player), James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, James Seymour (replacement player), Will Sutherland, Nic Maddinson, Reece Topley (Eng), Unmukt Chand (Ind), Mohammad Nabi (Afg), Zahir Khan (Afg)
In Nic Maddinson, Jono Merlo, James Seymour, Reece Topley, Unmukt Chand, Zahir Khan
Out Beau Webster, Peter Hazloglou, Jon Holland, Benny, Howell, Noor Ahmed, Imran Tahir, Imad Wasim
It was another disastrous season for the Renegades finishing last for the second straight year. They won their first match and then lost seven in a row. Their batting was abysmal, bowled out for less than 90 on three occasions and 111 in another match against Adelaide. The bowling was nowhere near as effective as season’s past and they struggled to find a consistent unit as they mixed and matched their overseas players. There was one bright spot as they produced a brilliant chasing win over Melbourne Stars late in the season. Mackenzie Harvey starred smashing 47 not out from 21 balls to give a glimpse into the future.
Renegades have been severely impacted by both Australia selection and injury. Nic Maddinson‘s selection in the Australia A side to face England Lions means the new Renegades captain won’t get a chance to lead his new club until their fourth game at the earliest. Marcus Harris is set to miss most of the season due to Test duty. Aaron Finch is in doubt for the early games due to his ongoing knee issue while Shaun Marsh is set to miss at least half the tournament due to a calf tear. England does have tour of West Indies in the new year and Afghanistan is scheduled to visit Bangladesh but it is unknown if the likes of Reece Topley, Mohammad Nabi or Zahir Khan will need to leave the BBL early.
Reece Topley is an important recruit for Renegades and has a chance to make a serious statement to England selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. Fellow Englishman Harry Gurney was a key part of Renegades’ run to the title three years ago and Topley has a similar opportunity to cause havoc on the inconsistent home surface of Marvel Stadium.
Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
Renegades were the worst bowling unit in the previous BBL edition. Their bowling economy rate of 8.61 was the highest among all teams and their death bowling economy was 11.24. If Renegades want to play finals, this is an area they need to focus on. Their attack certainly looks stronger this season
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
Chris Gayle farewell on the cards with Jamaica set to host West Indies-Ireland series
The series will comprise three ODIs and a one-off T20I, all at Sabina Park
While Gayle will not be part of the ODI squad, with the series counting towards 2023 World Cup qualification through the Super League, the one-off fixture at Sabina Park could be used as his farewell game. ESPNcricinfo understands that a decision has yet to be made on Gayle’s inclusion but that the issue will be up for discussion at the next meeting of CWI’s board of directors later this month.
“It’s whether collectively we all feel that it’s appropriate for him to have one last game at home to say farewell in a one-off game,” Johnny Grave, CWI’s chief executive, told the Mason and Guest radio show in Barbados last month. “That Ireland series would represent that opportunity.
“It would certainly be appropriate, as far as I can see it, to treat our players and give them the opportunity to bow out – especially players like Chris who have had unbelievable careers and won trophies for the West Indies.”
“We are pleased to be returning to the Caribbean where we have so many great memories,” Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland’s performance director, said. “The World Cup Super League is a crucial set of fixtures for Ireland as we attempt to qualify for the next Cricket World Cup, and – if the series in 2020 is anything to go by – we look forward to a highly competitive series in January.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
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