IND vs AFG first T20I | Nabi, Omarzai lift Afghanistan to 158/5

Afghanistan batsman Mohammad Nabi during the T20 Cricket Match against India at PCA Ground in Mohali on January 11, 2024.
| Photo Credit: R V Moorthy

A lively 68-run partnership off 43 balls between the seasoned Mohammad Nabi and youthful Azmatullah Omarzai lifted Afghanistan to 158 for five after India dominated the powerplay in the first T20 here on Thursday.

A stroke-filled partnership between Nabi (42 off 27) and Omarzai (29 off 22) was just what Afghanistan needed after India reduced the visitors to 57 for three in 10 overs amid chilly conditions at the PCA Stadium.

Openers Rahamanullah Gurbaz (23 off 28) and skipper Ibrahim Zadran (25 off 22) could only find four boundaries in the powerplay.

The start of the game was delayed by a few minutes as a flickering blue light around the sightscreen distracted Gurbaz.

Pacer Arshdeep Singh opened the innings with a maiden before the spinners got into the game as early as the fourth over.

Axar Patel, who ended up as the stand out bowler for India with figures of 4-0-23-2, had Gurbaz stumped with a fast and straight delivery after the opener slog swept him for a six.

Zadran was the next to depart as he smashed an innocuous ball from Shivam Dube straight to India skipper Rohit Sharma at cover. It was only the second ball of his opening spell.

Rahmat Shah, making his T20 debut after playing 106 ODIs for Afghanistan, chopped on to stumps a flatter one from Axar.

Afghanistan badly needed a move on and that came via the experience of Nabi and Omarzai, who had impressed with his all-round abilities in the ODI World Cup in India.

While the top-order struggled to rotate strike, Omarzai and Nabi showed their teammates how to build a T20 innings.

Both targeted Ravi Bishnoi and Mukesh Kumar in the middle overs.

Nabi’s back to back sixes off Mukesh stood out in his quickfire knock. He first made room to smash him over extra cover and waited still for the second ball to dispatch it over mid-wicket. Najibullah Zadran (19 not out off 11) and Karim Janat (9 not out off 5) took the total past 150.

India dropped three catches in the biting cold of Mohali. Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal was unavailable for selection due to a sore right groin.


India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Tilak Varma, Shivam Dube, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Rinku Singh, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran (capt), Rahmat Shah, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

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