Indian registered their second successive win, downing Afghanistan by 33 runs in the International under-19 tri-series cricket here at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake Campus ground on Saturday.
Having dominated Bangladesh on the first day of the tournament, India coach Rahul Dravid rotated the line-up, making eight changes while turning up against the second opponent Afghanistan. Retaining only captain Ricky Bhui, opener M.S. Washington Sundar and all-rounder Anmolpreet Singh, India fielded a fresh side but obtained the same result as did the team on the opening day — secure a win. Having bagged a bonus point with their overwhelming performance against Bangladesh, India tallied nine points from two matches and went closer to securing a final berth as the other two sides are yet to register a point.
Putting a better showing with the bat, compared what it did against Bangladesh, India posted a fighting total of 236. Wicketkeeper Rishab Pant, who joined Sundar to open the innings, scored a stroke-filled 87 (88b, 10x4, 2x6) to lay the foundation for a big score. Pant paired in two partnerships of 62 and 75 with Amandeep Khare (24) and captain Bhui (27) after Sundar (2) departed early. With the Indian top order making a good contribution, Mahipal Lomror (43) did well in the middle and took India past the 200 mark. India could have scored more, but lost wickets in quick succession as the batsmen went for the slog towards the end. For Afghanistan, leg-spinner Rashid Arman did most of the damage with the ball, picking up four Indian wickets.
Arman made an all-round contribution as he excelled with the bat to get the visitors closer to the target. Afghanistan tottered at 65 for five, chasing the target of 237, before Arman, arriving late at No. 8, stemmed the rot with his gutsy 43 (39b, 7x4) and carried the visitors' resistance to a longer distance.
Pacer Khaleel Ahmed picked up four wickets for 41 to give India the necessary breakthroughs. Afghan openers Ihasanullah Janat (25) and Hazratullah Zazai (21) had started well and built up a partnership of 45 runs before Ahmed scalped the latter in the ninth over to begin the procession to the pavilion.
Taking a rearguard action, Arman and Mohammad Sardar (33) put up a partnership of 62 runs for the eighth wicket but that was not enough to overhaul the target. Left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik and leg-spinner Mahipal Lomror scalped two wickets each as the visitors ended their pursuit in 203 in 47.3 overs.
India: M.S. Washington Sundar b Karim 2, Rishabh Pant lbw Arman 87, Amandeep Khare lbw Arman 24, Ricky Bhui c Sardar b Arman 27, Anmolpreet Singh b Rehman 16, Mahipal Lomror c Nasir Khan b Musa 43, Rahul Batham b Musa 8, Pradipta Pramanik c Hazratullah b Arman 8, Izhaan Sayed (run out) 1, Khaleel Ahmed b Nasir Khan 7, Subham Nayak (not out) 2; Extras (lb-3, nb-4, w-4): 11; Total (in 50 overs): 236.
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-67, 3-142, 4-149, 5-174, 6-201, 7-223, 8-223, 9-224.
Afghanistan bowling: Muslim Musa 10-2-32-2, Karim 9.1-0-42-1, Zia-ur Rehman 10-1-33-1, Nasir Khan 3.5-0-32-1, Rashid Arman 10-0-47-4, Parwiz Malikzai 3-0-17-0, Tariq Stanikzai 4-0-30-0.
Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai c Bhui b Ahmed 21, Ihasanullah Janat b Pramanik 25, Nasir Khan c Pant b Ahmed 0, Parwiz Malikzai lbw b Lomror 10, Tariq Stanikzai b Pramanik 1, Sayed Waheedullah st Pant b Anmolpreet Singh 19, Muslim Musa c Batham b Nayak 27, Rashid Arman c Bhui b Ahmed 43, Mohammad Sardar b Ahmed 33, Karim Janat b Lomror 15, Zia-ur Rehman (not out) 1, Extras (lb-4, w-4): 8; Total (in 47.3 overs): 203.
Fall of wickets: 1-45, 2-45, 3-57, 4-59, 5-65, 6-99, 7-113, 8-175, 9-187.
India bowling: Khaleel Ahmed 10-2-41-4, Izhan Sayed 3-0-25-0, Rahul Batham 5-0-27-0, Pradipta Pramanik 10-1-34-2, Mahipal Lomror 8.3-1-31-2, Subham Nayak 7-1-25-1, Anmolpreet Singh 4-0-16-1.
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