Afghanistan is Getting Ready With Their Spinners as Kohli Returns to T20I Cricket

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Players struggled in their 1st game in the cold of Mohali, now a high-scoring contest ca be seen

Vishal Singh Jan. 14, 2024

Even though Virat Kohli (personal reasons) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (groin injury) were not available for the Mohali T20I, India was nevertheless easily defeated Afghanistan despite Rohit Sharma's a backlog due to a run out in the initial phase of the match.

Although Rashid Khan will miss the entire three-match series for Afghanistan, they are still a formidable T20 team on their day. Nearly 6 players out of the playing XI are contracted players of IPL who also play in T20 and T10 franchise tournaments across the globe.

Before the T20 World Cup begins in the USA and the West Indies in June, Kohli is scheduled to make his comeback for India's second-to-last T20I in Indore. This will be a good test for him against Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi because he hasn't scored freely against spin in T20 cricket. Among hitters who have played at least 50 innings in the IPL in the previous five seasons, he has the second-lowest strike rate against spin. The question of whether Rohit can dominate T20I powerplays in the same way that he did in ODI powerplays at the World Cup last year is also of great interest.

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With Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar included, India now has six bowling options and may bat as low as No. 8. Although Dube was sidelined in the T20I series against Australia and was benched for the T20I series in South Africa, he could have a good case to be included as Hardik Pandya's backup in India's T20 World Cup team, particularly if he has a successful IPL season.

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Afghanistan's batting depth is lower than India's; they have some issues at the top, but Mujeeb 2.0 and Naveen-ul-Haq are playing at No. 9 and 10. The strategy didn't work as they attempted to put two anchors in their top four, Rahmat Shah at No. 4, and captain Ibrahim Zadran at the top. Afghanistan's final score of 158 for 5 was made possible by Nabi and Najibullah Zadran's middle-order strength. It's unlikely that they will challenge India until they post a larger total.

Stats and trivia: Kohli on the path of creating another history

  • Kohli is 35 runs away from becoming the first Indian - and fourth overall - to score 12,000 runs in T20I cricket
  • Arshdeep Singh is four strikes away from breaking into the list of India's top five wicket-takers in T20I cricket.
  • India had lost 11 tosses in a row across formats before Rohit finally won one in Mohali.
  • Rahmat played 106 ODIs before his first T20I on Thursday. He made his ODI debut in March 2013