Mohammed Shami’s last over hat-trick saved India from a mighty scare after it managed to pip Afghanistan by 11 runs. Shami (4/40) not only successfully defended 16 runs off the last over but also dismissed Mohammed Nabi (52 off 55 balls), Aftab Alam (0) and Mujeeb ur Rahman (0) off successive deliveries.
Afghanistan was bowled out for 213 in pursuit of a manageable 225-run target. “This game was way more important for us, because things didn’t go as planned. That’s when you need to show character and bounce back,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Drafted into the playing eleven in place of injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami became only the second Indian cricketer to register a hat-trick in the WC after Chetan Sharma, who achieved the feat in 1987. Kohli, thus, was effusive in his praise for the speedster. “Everyone’s waiting for an opportunity. Shami was really good. He was making the ball move more than anybody. We knew these guys were hungry,” he added.
Rating the win over Afghanistan as a special one, the India captain said the wicket was a difficult one for stroke-making courtesy its two-paced nature. “This is right up there (as a win). You win the toss, and you decide to bat and then you see the wicket slow down. You think 260 or 270 would be a good total,” he said.
“At the halfway stage, we had doubts in our minds, but we also had self-belief in the change rooms. As soon as I went in, I understood the pace of the pitch. Cross-batted shots weren’t on, and a lot of horizontal bat shots cost us.” Kohli also praised Man-of-the-Match Jasprit Bumrah for his impressive bowling display that brought India back into the contest.
“It’s simple - we want to use him (Bumrah) smartly. When he takes one or two wickets, he can go on, but otherwise we try to ensure the opposition knows that he has seven or so overs to go.”
Skipper fined for excessive appealing
India captain Kohli was fined 25% of his match fee for excessive appealing in Saturday’s contest against Afghanistan, announced the International Cricket Council (ICC). India was desperate for a breakthrough when Jasprit Bumrah struck Rahmat Shah on the pad. And, Kohli looked unhappy after the leg-before appeal was turned down. “Saturday’s incident occurred in the 29th over of the Afghanistan innings, when Kohli advanced towards umpire Aleem Dar in an aggressive manner when appealing an lbw decision,” the governing body said in a statement. The India skipper was found to have breached the ICC code of conduct article relating to excessive appealing during an international match. “Kohli admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Chris Broad ... and as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.” added the ICC.