ANI Photo | India defeat Afghanistan by six wickets in first T20I, Shivam Dube scores 60

A half-century by Shivam Dube and a cameo by Jitesh Sharma helped India secure a six-wicket win over Afghanistan in the first T20I of the three-match series at Mohali on Thursday.
Chasing 159 runs, India were off to a terrible start as skipper Rohit Sharma was run out for a two-ball duck on his return to T20Is. India were 0/1.
Shubman Gill, however, continued his innings u
nbothered. He smashed Fazalhaq Farooqi and Mujeeb ur Rahman for five classy boundaries.
Gill’s inning of 23 in 12 balls was cut short by Mujeeb, who cleaned up his stumps. India were 28/2 in 3.5 overs.
Tilak Varma and Shivam Dube were the new pair and the scroe read 36/2 in six overs at the end of the first powerplay with Tilak (7*) and Shivam (6*) on the crease.
The seventh over delivered by Mohammed Nabi eased off some pressure as it yielded 16 runs, including two massive sixes by Shivam and a four by Tilak. India touched the 50-run mark in eight overs. The next over by Naveen ul Haq also yielded 14 runs, including a four by Dube and a six by Tilak.
Azmatullah Omarzai ended the budding 44-run partnership between the duo, removing Tilak for 26 off 22 balls with two fours and a six. India were 72/3 in 8.4 overs.
Halfway through the innings, India were 83/3, with Shivam (26*) and Jitesh Sharma (4*) unbeaten.
Jitesh hit some clean boundaries to take India beyond the 100-run mark in 11.5 overs. His knock came to an end when Mujeeb cleaned him up for 31 in 20 balls, with five fours. India were 117/4 in 13.5 overs.
Rinku Singh was next up and started his inning with a four. The duo took India closer to a win.
Shivam reached his second T20I fifty in 38 balls, with four boundaries and a six.
India reached the 150-run mark in 17.2 overs.
Shivam hit the winning runs. India scored 159/4 in 17.3 overs, with Dube (60* in 40 balls, five fours and two sixes) and Rinku (16* in nine balls, with two fours) unbeaten.
Jitesh Sharma scored 31 runs with help of five fours.
Mujeeb took two wickets for Afghanistan, while Omarzai got one.
Earlier, an explosive knock by Mohammed Nabi and cameos by Azmatullah Omarzai and Najibullah Zadran helped Afghanistan reach a solid total of 158/5 at the end of 20 overs.
Put to the test first by India, Afghanistan were off to a decent start. After playing out Arshdeep Singh’s first over as a maiden, openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and skipper Ibrahim Zadran scored at least a boundary per over.
In the first six overs at the end of the first powerplay, Afghanistan were at 33/0 with Zadran (16*) and Gurbaz (15*) unbeaten.
Just when Afghanistan looked to take off with two sixes, Axar Patel’s spin landed India its first wicket, removing Gurbaz for 23 off 28 balls with two fours and a six. Afghanistan were 50/1 in eight overs.
Shivam Dube took the second wicket at the start of the next over, removing Zadran for 25 off 22 balls, after he was caught by skipper Rohit Sharma at covers. Afghanistan were 50/2 in 8.2 overs.
Rahmat Shah’s debut T20I match was not a memorable one, as Axar cleaned up his stumps for just three runs, reducing Afghanistan to 57/3 in 10 overs.
The 15th over by Ravi Bishnoi cost India 16 runs as he was smashed by Mohammed Nabi for two fours and Omarzai also hit a maximum. Afghanistan reached the 100-run mark in 14.3 overs.
At the end of 15 overs, Afghanistan were 105/3, with Azmatullah Omarzai (26*) and Nabi (25*) unbeaten. The duo reached the 50-run partnership in 32 balls. In the next over, Nabi boosted the run rate further by smoking Mukesh Kumar for two massive sixes, getting 15 runs in total.
Mukesh, however, ended the 68-run partnership between Omarzai and Nabi, cleaning up the former for 29 off 22 balls with two fours and a six. Afghanistan was 125/4 in 17.1 overs. On the last ball of the over, Mukesh got his second wicket as Rinku caught Nabi at sweeper cover for 42 off 27 balls, with two fours and three sixes. Afghanistan were 130/5 in 18 overs.
Afghanistan pair of Karim Janat and Najibullah Zadran kept the run rate steady by gathering 13 runs in the next over, including three fours.
Afghanistan managed to finish well, getting 15 runs in the final over, including three fours, thanks to a partially dropped catch. They ended at 158/5 in 20 overs, with Zadran (19*) and Janat (9*) unbeaten.
Axar (2/23) and Mukesh (2/33) were the pick of the bowlers for India. Dube also got a wicket.
India are now 1-0 up in the series. (ANI)

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