Southampton: Captain Gulbadin Naib termed Jasprit Bumrah’s two-wicket burst in the 29th over as the actual game-changer after Afghanistan suffered an 11-run loss to India in a tense World Cup clash here.
Bumrah took two wickets in three balls in the 29th over as Afghanistan slipped from 106 for 2 to 106 for 4 and that had a big impact in the game, despite Mohammed Nabi’s fighting half-century.
The India pacer also bowled a splendid 49th over, conceding only five runs.
Couldn’t Nabi have attacked a bit earlier considering Mohammed Shami and Bumrah were supposed to bowl the death overs?
“Credit goes to Bumrah’s spell (referring to 29th over). He is world’s No 1 bowler and (naturally) he bowled really well. Shami also bowled really well in the last over. Najib and Rashid made mistakes but credit goes to the Indian bowling side,” Gulbadin said at the post-match media conference.
Even his teammate Rahmat Shah during an interaction at the mixed zone blamed the defeat to his and Hashmatullah Shahidi’s dismissal.
“Those two wickets by Bumrah changed the game completely. Those were good deliveries. We didn’t gift our wickets. It was Bumrah, who got them,” a disappointed Rahmat said after the game.
Gulbadin, however, expressed his displeasure at the mistakes in shot selection from experienced players like Rashid Khan and Najibullah Zadran.
He said that Rashid and Najibullah should have hung around supporting Nabi, who scored 52 and was first of Shami’s three hattrick victims.
The skipper, however, would like to harp on the positives and how the team’s batting has shown signs of improvement in the last two games.
“The first four games that we played, we lost really badly. We played against England which is a strong side and India, the other favourites in the tournament.
“So I think we are now getting better and better day by day. This is what I actually wanted from the team. So this is a good sign,” said the skipper.
He admitted that Indian bowlers didn’t give them a single chance when they batted.
Rashid, who had recorded the tournament’s worst bowling figures against England in the last game, got the better of MS Dhoni, while Mujeeb ur Rahman too shone bright, dismissing opener Rohit Sharma early on.
For Gulbadin, it was heartening to see that the top spinners were back in form going into their last three games.
“The good thing is that Rashid and Mujeeb were back in form. So they bowled really well. We planned really well for Dhoni and Jadhav,” he said.
“The wicket wasn’t good for batting in the first half. The ball was turning and when the ball turns, it is difficult to play Rashid.
“But Jadhav and Dhoni had a good partnership in the middle and that also changed the game. Initially, we thought we could get them out for 170, 180 but it changed.”