Team India captain Virat Kohli said after the 66-run win against Afghanistan that the return of R Ashwin is a positive thing. Ashwin played his last T20 International match in 2017. Ashwin conceded just 14 runs in his quota of four overs against Afghanistan and also took two wickets. Chasing a target of 211 runs against India, Afghanistan’s team could only manage 144 runs for seven wickets in 20 overs.
For Afghanistan, only captain Mohammad Nabi (35 runs in 32 balls) and Karim Janat (42 not out in 22 balls) could cross the 20-run mark. For India, Mohammed Shami (3 for 32) took three wickets. India posted 210 for two with half-centuries from Rohit Sharma (74) and Lokesh Rahul (69) and a 140-run opening partnership between the two, the highest score by any team in the current tournament. Hardik Pandya (35 not out in 13 balls) and Rishabh Pant (27 not out in 13 balls) shared a flamboyant 63 runs in 3.3 overs for the third wicket.
Kohli said after the match, “Ash (Ashwin) coming back has been a very positive thing, he has worked hard for this. He showed this kind of control and form in the IPL as well. He is a wicket-taker who bowls intelligently. Kohli said that today’s wicket was better than the team’s first two matches. He said, ‘To be honest, the wicket was much better. Even in the first two matches, if we could bat two overs freely, we could have put the opposition under pressure.
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Kohli said the order of his top three batsmen is fixed, except in exceptional circumstances. The Indian captain said, ‘Our top-3 batsmen are almost certain, unless something like it happens today. If the top two batsmen played for 14 or 15 overs, then it would not have to be decided whether to bat fast now. We have to support players because their skills are different and sometimes they perform like they are today. Kohli, however, also credited the bowlers of Pakistan and New Zealand for not letting the team play freely in the first two matches.