Kohli, Balaji lead India to win
Virat Kohli and Laxmipathy Balaji today helped India pull off their first win in the World Cup T20 for 2012. Kohli, who pulled out yet another fifty, helped India recover from 79-5 and get to a defendable total of 159-5, which proved to be too much for the Afghs to chase down. Balaji, who was not a part of the Indian squad for a very long time, made his mark as he picked up 3-19 in 3.3 0vers. Balaji was well supported by Yuvraj Singh who failed with the bat but took a handy 3-24 in his 4 overs; and R Ashwin (2-20). Together, they bundled out Afghanistan for a paltry 136. Kohli, as always, was impeccable with the bat and kept the runs coming after India’s shaky start, losing Virender Sehwag (8) and Gautam Gambhir (10) early. Kohli found some support in Suresh Raina (38), after Yuvraj Singh (18) fell early. VK brought up his fifty in 38 balls before he as dismissed by Dawlat Zadran. With 160 to chase, the Afghanistan openers, capatin Nawroz Mangal and Mohammad Shahzad gave a decent foundation, with a 26-run stand in 3.5 overs before Shahzad was removed by Balaji. Then, Mangal made another 26-run stand with Karim Sadiq, before he fell for 22, with scorecard reading 52-2 in 7.1 overs. From there chasing 160 should have been rather easy, with the required rate still below 9. Then Yuvraj induced the wickets of both Sadiq and Asghar Stanikzai, and Ashwin removed Samiullah Shenwari for 1, leaving Afghanistan at 76-5 in 12.1 overs. Then came the real shocker for India. Mohammed Nabi, a relatively unknown player, came in and smashed the ball around, to keep the fire burning. Finally, Ashwin removed him for 31 of 17. After that, it was downhill for the Afghs. Balaji and Irfan Pathan wrapped up things nicely so there were no unexpected runs from the tail, and took the game by 23 runs. Kohli was named Man Of The Match for his effort. So now India, like Sri Lanka, are virtually in the Super 8’s, and have a great shot at the trophy. This is IPLgeek, signing off. Have a great day!