ADELAIDE, Feb 10 (PTI): Riding on Rohit Sharma’s strokeful 150, an under-fire India finally registered a win after a long time as they crushed minnows Afghanistan by 153 runs in their second and final World Cup warm-up match here today.
Rohit Sharma in action against Afghanistan
Electing to bat, India did not have the best of starts as they lost opener Shikhar Dhawan (4) and Virat Kohli (5) early but Rohit’s knock helped the Men in Blue post 364 for five.
Chasing a mammoth score, Afghanistan, who are making their first 50-over World Cup appearance, played cautious cricket but could only manage to score 211 for eight in 50 overs.
The Indian bowling though fared a touch better with Mohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja sharing two wickets each but Mohammed Shami went wicketless.
But the day belonged to Rohit, whose dominating innings laid the foundation of a strong batting show. He stitched a 158-run third wicket partnership with Suresh Raina (75) to help India gain ground. The left-handed Raina was unlucky to be run out after hitting 5 fours and 3 sixes in his 71-ball stay but Rohit carried on the good work with Ajinkya Rahane (88 not out).
The duo stitched a 95-run fourth wicket partnership to deflate the Afghan hopes.
Rohit was finally picked up by off-spinner Mohammad Nabi but not after he had hit 12 fours and 7 sixes in his 122-ball knock.
Dhoni (10) once again failed to get going and looked completely out of sorts in his 20-ball stay at the wicket but Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja (11 not out) made sure the score was challenging enough.
Afghanistan started on a cautious note as opener Usman Ghani and former captain Nawroz Mangal managed a 63-run second wicket partnership but the strategy did not work and the asking-rate kept mounting.
Asghar Stanikzai (20) and later wicketkeeper-batsman Afsar Zazai (24 not out) also contributed but the target proved beyond reach for World Cup first-timers.
India’s Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja picked up a wicket each as all the bowlers kept their economy rates to under 4.5 albeit against a weak Afghan batting.
On the batting front as well, the Indian players had a good outing before their crucial opening match against Pakistan. Rohit and Raina complemented each other in the course of their partnership as the duo hit the hapless Afghan spinners at will.
Rohit hit 19 boundaries, including seven sixes in his punishing knock while Raina also tormented the rival bowlers with his aggressive strokeplay.
Following Raina’s run out, Rahane walked to the crease and remained their till the end, scoring a confident 88 off just 61 balls, steering India past 350-run mark.
Medium-pacer Mirwais Ashraf (0/29) was the only Afghan bowler who managed an under-five economy rate in his six wicketless overs while others bled runs.
India: Rohit Sharma c M Ashraf b M Nabi 150, Shikhar Dhawan b H Hassan 4, Virat Kohli c A Zazai b D Zadran 5, Suresh Raina run out 75, Ajinkya Rahane not out 88, M Dhoni c N Mangal b S Zadran 10, Ravindra Jadeja not out 11. Extras: (LB-7, WD-13, NB-1) 21. Total: (For 5 wickets in 50 overs) 364. Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-16, 3-174, 4-269, 5-322. Bowling: Hamid Hassan 8-1-49-1, Dawlat Zadran 8-0-66-1, Shapoor Zadran 8-0-58-1, Mirwais Ashraf 6-0-29-0, Mohammad Nabi 9-0-62-1, Aftab Alam 4-0-40-0, Samiullah Shenwari 3-0-26-0, Javed Ahmadi 4-0-27-0.
Afghanistan: Javed Ahmadi c Dhoni b Yadav 17, Usman Ghani c Yadav b Jadeja 44, Nawroz Mangal c Dhoni b M Sharma 60, Asghar Stanikzai c Mohammed Shami b M Sharma 20, Najibullah Zadran st Dhoni b Ashwin 4, Samiullah Shenwari run out (Dhoni/Jadeja/Rayudu) 17, Mohammad Nabi b Jadeja 1, Afsar Zazai not out 24, Mirwais Ashraf b Raina 2, Nasir Jamal not out 2. Extras: (LB 13, W 6, NB 1) 20. Total: (8 wickets; 50 overs) 211. Fall of wickets: 1-30, 2-93, 3-153, 4-158, 5-160, 6-169, 7-199, 8-206. Bowling: Umesh Yadav 9-0-35-1, Mohammed Shami 9-0-39-0, M Sharma 9-1-40-2, Ravindra Jadeja 10-2-38-2, R Ashwin 10-1-37-1, Suresh Raina 3-0-9-1.