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Shami’s hat-trick seals thrilling win for India against Afghanistan

India skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to bat first against Afghanistan on a sluggish Southampton track. Afghanistan started with Mujeeb Ur Rahman and the move worked brilliantly.

Rohit Sharma pushed and nudged for nine deliveries before losing his off stump. Kohli and KL Rahul got the innings going with a 57-run stand but the latter continued to struggle for any sort of momentum.

While Kohli was batting at 31 off 23, Rahul ran out of patience and ended up throwing away his wicket. An ill-timed reverse sweep against Mohammad Nabi ended his 53-ball stay, which fetched 31.

Vijay Shankar was involved in another half-century stand with Kohli. Vijay, however, failed to kick on after his start and was trapped in front by Rahmat Shah.

Another rash shot led to Kohli’s dismissal as India slipped to 135 for 4 in the 31st over. MS Dhoni took time to settle in, as expected, and Kedar Jadhav too adopted a fairly cautious approach.

The ploy, however, didn’t yield the desired result as Dhoni was stumped in the 45th over off Rashid Khan. Jadhav was far from his fluent best but managed some late hits to push the score past 200.

Afghanistan spun a web around India’s in-form batting unit to restrict them to 224-8. Afghanistan’s four spinners picked five wickets among them.

Mohammad Nabi got two while Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan and Rahmat Shah picked up a wicket apiece. Captain Gulbadin Naib too picked up two wickets in the last over.

Chasing 225 for victory against India, Afghanistan started off cautiously but soon Mohammed Shami got the first breakthrough with a pacy delivery to remove Hazratullah Zazai.

Hardik Pandya then got the wicket of captain Gulbadin Naib. Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi had a 42 run partnership for the third wicket. But the 29th over by Bumrah changed the scenario completely with both batsmen falling to Bumrah. Mohammad Nabi kept the score ticking but wickets continue to fall at the other end.

Nabi brought up his 50 but in the last over 16 runs were required in the last over. Nabi hit the first ball for a six but Shami cameback strongly to remove Nabi and then a superlative hattrick to give India a 11 runs victory.

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