Axar Patel led the charge with the ball for India before Shivam Dube starred with the bat to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan on Thursday. Axar returned figures of 2/23 as India restricted Afghanistan to 158/5 after Rohit Sharma opted to bowl. Axar got the wickets of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Rahmat Shah, respectively. Chasing 159, Dube powered India across the finishing line in 17.3 overs with an unbeaten 60 off 40 balls.
The playing conditions weren’t the best due to the temperature dropping as below as 7 degree celsius in Mohali. However, Axar and Dube shone to give India an advantage, ahead of the second game in Indore on Sunday.
Despite his brilliant spell, Axar admitted that the chilly weather made his job slightly difficult.
“I wasn’t feeling the ball, it was very cold. We knew it was winter and would be cold, but I was only thinking about my bowling, how to put pressure on them. There was a lot of dew, but I focused on my accuracy,” Axar said during the mid-innings show.
Axar also revealed that he had asked the umpire if he can wear a glove on his non-bowling arm, to which the umpire rejected his request.
“I had asked the umpire if I can wear glove in one hand, but he said no (Maine umpire se poocha tha ki main ek haanth me gloves pehen ke bowling kar lun, lekin unhone mana kar diya),” he added.
Meanwhile, India’s Virat Kohli missed the game due to “personal reasons” while Afghanistan spin king Rashid Khan remains out of the series as he recovers from a back surgery.
Kohli has not played a T20I in over a year. He is expected to return to the team for the second game at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Sunday.
Brief scores: Afghanistan: 158/5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Nabi 42; Axar Patel 2/23, Mukesh Kumar 2/33).
India: 159 for four in 17.3 overs (Shivam Dube 60; Mujeev Ur Rahman 2/21)
(With PTI Inputs)
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