India make winning start

Afghanistan fall short in pursuit of target of 160 in Colombo

Last Updated: 19/09/12 7:57pm

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Yuvraj Singh and Lakshmipathy Balaji claimed three wickets each as India opened their Group A campaign at the World Twenty20 with a 23-run win over Afghanistan.

Afghanistan were bowled out for 136 in pursuit of a target of 160 at the RPS in Colombo, spinner Yuvraj finishing with 3-24 and seam bowler Balaji 3-19.

Yuvraj did most of the early damage, winning an lbw verdict against opener Nawroz Mangal (22) and following up by removing Karim Sadiq (26) and Asghar Stanikzai (6) with successive deliveries in the 12th over to reduce the Afghans to 75-4.

Mohammad Nabi slammed two fours and two sixes in his 17-ball 31 to keep the run chase alive but he was caught off Ravi Ashwin's bowling and Balaji returned to polish off the innings in the final over.

Earlier, Virat Kohli's 50 was the top score in India's total of 159-5 after they had been asked to bat.

Kohli, who faced 39 balls and struck four fours and two sixes, was well supported by Yuvraj (18) and Suresh Raina (38) as India recovered from early trouble at 22-2, left-arm paceman Shapoor Zadran (2-33) having dismissed both openers, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, cheaply.

Afghanistan paid the price for some shoddy fielding, dropping Kohli once and Raina twice before India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni finished off the innings with a flourish, smashing 18 off nine deliveries.

Group A continues at the same venue on Friday when Afghanistan take on England.

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