India won the second game by 6 wickets, dominating the visiting Afghanistan and took an unassailable lead of 2-0 with the third game slated to be played on Wednesday (January 17) in Bengaluru. For now, it's me AkshayaKrishna Polya, signing off on behalf of my co-commentator Ninaad Dixit, who, alongside our scorer/analyst Yogesh Kumar, brought you all the live-action of this enthralling game. We will meet again in the next game. Until then, it's cheers!
Axar Patel (Player of the Match): "It is less cold today. I feel good, I got to know about the achievement [only 2nd Indian to score over 2500 runs and take 200 wickets in T20] when I was preparing to bat and saw on TV, it feels nice but it is important to do well for India. I don't think I will remember the numbers in few years.
I was trying to bowl slow since 1-2 years but wasn't getting confident but bowling that in matches teaches me to find my length and my action to find the correct line. I am doing well since last 2-3 series which has boosted my confidence that I am carrying forward. I feel confident bowling in the powerplay and in the later stages. I am not afraid to vary my pace.
You need to be mentally ready that the next ball can be hit for a boundary as well and despite getting hit for a boundary one should be mentally brave and bowl in the same area. If the batter hits again then change the plan. Earlier I used to change as soon as I got hit for a boundary but now I challenge the batter to go for the big stroke again and take that risk."
Axar Patel is the player of the match.
Rohit Sharma (India Captain): "Yeah, it's a great feeling. Honestly, it's been a long journey starting way back in 2007, and I have cherished every moment of it.
I was pretty clear about what we wanted to do and what we wanted to achieve as a team. We spoke about it earlier, and we have executed it. We have spoken about it in the dressing room and a very clear message to everyone, and when you see a performance like that, you can be really proud. The last two games, we have ticked almost every boxes. That's the most satisfying thing for me and my team.
They've had a great couple of years; Jaiswal hasn't played a lot in ODIs but has played Test cricket now and even T20Is. He has shown what he is capable of. He has the talent and has a great range of shots. Dube is a big guy, very powerful and can take on the spinners. That is his role, and he has come out and played two crucial innings for us.
Smart Saver of the Match: Virat Kohli
Gamechanger of the Match: Shivam Dube
Ibrahim Zadran (Afghanistan Captain): "We were quite short with the runs. We had a good start on the first ball but we weren't good enough. In the end we recovered.
If you can see sometime we play well in the powerplay, sometime in the middle and sometime in the death overs. This is the area we should go with that momentum and not do lots of mistakes every time in every game. We are going for the T20 World cup as soon as we cover this area and not repeat that to have a good World cup.
Gulbadin is the most senior guy in the team, has played lot of cricket for Afghanistan. We put trust on him and told him before the game that you can do it in that position and he did in the last game as well. When he played a few shots in the powerplay I told him to take the momentum to the end, he played really well."
10:15 PM IST and Local Time: We are ready with the post-match presentations...
Highest targets successfully chased against Afghanistan in T20Is:
176 by Sri Lanka in Sharjah in 2022 173 by India in Indore Today*
169 by Ireland in Belfast in 2022
163 by Hong Kong in Abu Dhabi in 2015
Axar Patel completed 200 T20 wickets in the process. He became the only 2nd Indian player after Ravindra Jadeja with a double of 2000 runs and 200 wickets in T20s.
Jadeja: 310 matches, 3382 runs and 216 wickets Axar: 234 matches, 2545 runs and 200 wickets
This is India's 15th consecutive T20I series win at home.
Shivam Dube: "Me and Yashasvi both are strokeplayers and know each other's game. Probably my job in the middle was to take on the spinners and even he was hitting really well. We had a plan either I go or him but we both went and decided to finish the game as soon as possible.
There wasn't any target of when to finish the game. I think we have finished on time. I was not thinking to hit out of the ground but out of the park really.
There are many things which I have worked on. Its not just about skill level. Its about how you handle T20 mentally. How you handle the pressure, which bowler you take on. That is more important. Being focused on every ball from my end is very important.
I am working on my bowling as well getting 3 overs today. Last match was good, this match not on my bowling side but I know T20 is like that only. It will be one day on my side and one day not on my side."
10 PM IST and Local Time: India thrash Afghanistan by 6 wickets and take an unassailable lead in the three-match series! Some tremendous ball-striking by the Indian batters has given them an excellent victory over the visitors with 26 balls to spare. Earlier in the game, India won the toss and opted to bowl first. Afghanistan lost both of their openers early, but Gulbadin Naib (57 off 35), who was promoted to number three, made it count with a swashbuckling half-century to keep his team in the hunt. Once Naib got out in the 12th over, the momentum of the innings was broken.
Mohammad Nabi (14 off 18), Najibullah Zadran (23 off 21), Karim Janat (20 off 10) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (21 off 9) played little cameos but failed to make full use of the batting paradise. But there was no scarcity of events, with plenty of actions, especially in the final over bowled by Arshdeep Singh, which saw a total of four wickets fall including a couple of run-outs. Afghanistan were bundled out for 172 in exactly 20 overs.
For India, Arshdeep (3/32) picked three wickets and was the successful bowler. Ravi Bishnoi (2/39) and Axar Patel (2/17) grabbed a couple of wickets, while Shivam Dube (1/36) picked one scalp.
In reply, India lost Rohit Sharma again for a duck, with Fazalhaq Farooqi (1/28) knocking over the Indian skipper in the opening over itself. Yashasvi Jaiswal, who started the chase with a first-ball boundary, clubbed five 4s and six 6s in his sizzling innings of 34-ball 68, announcing his comeback with a bang, hitting his 4th T20I half-century.
Jaiswal was involved in two fifty-plus partnerships, the first being with Virat Kohli and the second with Shivam Dube. Kohli, who returned to the Indian T20I set up for the first time since November 2022, made his intentions clear with five cracking boundaries in his knock of 16-ball 29 before getting out to Naveen-ul-Haq (1/33) in the final over of the Powerplay.
Dube came in at number 4 and smashed five 4s and four 6s, including smoking Mohammad Nabi for three consecutive maximums. He hit his second consecutive fifty and remained unbeaten on 63 off 32 balls, his career-best T20I score.
Karim Janat (2/13) did remove Jaiswal and Jitesh Sharma in the same over, but the game was already done and dusted. Rinku Singh (9* off 9) came in and finished the last rites with Dube as India chased the target in the 16th over! Stay tuned for the post-match presentations!