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Shami`s hat-trick helps India escape Afghanistan scare

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Mohammad Shami has become the second Indian cricketer after Chetan Sharma to register a hat-trick in the ICC World Cup, and he helped his team escape an Afghanistan scare on Saturday at The Rose Bowl, Southampton.

Despite having a moderate total of 224 runs, India won the match by 11 runs.

Mohammad Nabi, the veteran all-rounder of Afghanistan, hit 55 but his effort went in vain as Afghanistan failed to grab a win that could have been best in their history.  
In the last over of the match, Afghanistan needed 16 runs. In the first ball, Nabi drilled Shami for a four. In the next ball, Nabi refused a single. But he failed to touch the dream as he got dismissed in the third ball while clearing Shami. Hardik Pandya took a brilliant catch to remove him.
 In the next two balls, Shami shattered the stumps of Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman to complete his first hat-trick in ODI cricket career. Afghanistan ended on 213 for 10 in 49.5 overs.

While chasing, Afghanistan managed a good start as they posted 106 for three wickets. In the first wicket stand, Hazratullah Zazai and Gulbadin Naib added 20 runs. Zazai, who is known for his big hitting ability, fell for 10 off 24 in the sluggish surface.
 Shami, who was playing his first game today in this World Cup, took the first wicket. Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah came up to remove Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah respectively for 27 and 36. Right after removing Rahmat, Bumrah sent Hashmatullah Shahidi back in the same over.
 Despite losing wickets on regular intervals, Afghanistan never were out of the track to chase an average total of 224 runs.

However, Asghar Afghan fell only for eight runs while facing Yuzvendra Chahal, which left them in trouble but there was Nabi, the experienced campaigner of Afghanistan. He kept one end secured and kept scoring runs.
 In the sixth wicket stand, Nabi and Najibullah Zadran added 36 runs which helped Afghanistan march close to India's total.
 But Najibullah fell for 21 off 23 and India kept their fate counting in the match.

Pandya removed Najibullah and made the things tough for Afghans lads. Chahal brought another breakthrough removing Rashid Khan for 14.
 In the eighth wicket stand, 18-year-old Ikram Ali Khil joined Nabi to chase the target. But eventually, they failed to do it.
 For India, Shami took four wickets, including three in a row, for 40 in 9.5 overs while Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya took two wickets each.
 Earlier, India managed to score only 224 for eight wickets in 50 overs.

The two times world champions failed to post a big total due to the impressive Afghan bowling attack.

Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first. While talking to the broadcaster, he said the wicket is very good to score a big total. But India failed to prove the decision.

Rohit Sharma was the first man to get dismissed. The 18-year-old spinner, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, scalped him for just a single in 10 deliveries.

Rohit went to defend the ball, but the delivery shattered his off stump. Rohit missed it completely.
 However, in the second wicket stand, Virat and Lokesh Rahul, who is opening for India in the absence of injured Shikhar Dhawa, added 57 runs in an attempt to recover the initial damage.
 Nabi, the former captain of Afghanistan, took the second wicket removing Lokesh for 30 off 53 deliveries.

After him, Rahmat Shah bagged the wicket of Vijay Shankar for 29. India were in deep trouble at that point of time, and they never really recovered from that.
 Virat was firm at the other end of the wicket. But he fell for 67, which was India's highest score in the innings.
 Nabi delivered a regulation off-break ball. The Indian captain tried to cut it away but managed an upper edge to the point area. Rahmat dived forward to grab the catch.

India lost some quick wickets after a 57-run stand by MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav. Dhoni was removed by Rashid Khan. The premium spinner of Afghanistan trapped him delivering a ball outside off which turned further away.
 Dhoni came forward and tried to drive away but failed to connect the ball and subsequently lost his wicket for 28 off 52.

The partnership of Jadhav and Hardik Pandya was the last hope of India to put up a big total but they added only 35 runs in the stand.
 Eventually, India were wrapped in for a moderate total of 224 runs for eight wickets in 50 overs.
 For Afghanistan, every bowler took at least one wicket while captain Gulbadin Naib and Nabi bagged two wickets each.

India will take on West Indies in their next game on June 27 while Afghanistan face Bangladesh on June 24. --UNB, Dhaka.

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