Sharma keeps India alive at T20 World Cup
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Sharma keeps India alive at T20 World Cup

Opening batsman Rohit Sharma hit a blistering 74 to set up India’s first win at the Twenty20 World Cup with a 66-run drubbing of Afghanistan on Wednesday as Virat Kohli’s team avoided a shock early exit.

The Indian batting finally fired with Sharma and KL Rahul, who made 69, putting on 140 for the opening wicket to guide India to 210 for two in their must-win Super 12 game in Abu Dhabi.

The tournament’s highest total proved too much for Afghanistan who finished on 144-7 in 20 overs.

They still remain in the hunt for the semi-finals along with New Zealand and India. Pakistan have already secured their place in the last-four from the group.

“It was a much better wicket today, to be fair,” said India skipper Kohli.

“We back the guys because they’re so skillful, and sometimes it comes off like today. To give credit to the oppositions, they bowled really well in the first two matches and didn’t let us get away.”

India, who came in as hot favourites but crashed to two straight losses, needed to win their remaining three games and depend on others for their entry in the semis.

Returning off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin returned figures of 2-14 in his first white-ball international since 2017.

Afghanistan, who usually bat first, decided to put India in but that plan spectacularly backfired.

“We wanted to bat second because of the dew, and the wicket looked really good for batting,” said captain Mohammad Nabi whose team now have two wins and two losses.

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