ICC World Cup 2023: Rohit Sharma’s century powers India to an easy win over Afghanistan

India beat Afghanistan by 8 wickets in a one-sided affair.

India registered their second consecutive win in the ICC World Cup 2023 by thrashing Afghanistan by eight wickets at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday. Chasing a modest target of 273, India romped home with 15 overs to spare, thanks to a brilliant century by Rohit Sharma and solid contributions from Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli.

Sharma was in sublime touch as he smashed 131 runs off just 84 balls, hitting 16 fours and five sixes. He added 97 runs for the first wicket with Kishan, who scored 47 off 47 balls, and 121 runs for the second wicket with Kohli, who remained unbeaten on 55 off 56 balls. Sharma reached his hundred in only 63 balls, the fastest by an Indian in World Cup history. He was eventually dismissed by Rashid Khan in the 25th over, but not before he had taken the game away from Afghanistan.

Kohli and Shreyas Iyer (25 not out) then completed the formalities as India reached 273 for two in 35 overs. Kohli hit six fours in his innings, while Iyer struck a four and a six. Rashid Khan was the only bowler who could trouble the Indian batsmen, taking two wickets for 57 runs in eight overs. The rest of the Afghan attack was taken to the cleaners by the rampaging Indian top order.

Earlier, Afghanistan had won the toss and opted to bat first, hoping to put up a competitive total on a good batting surface. However, they lost their top three batsmen inside the first 14 overs, with Jasprit Bumrah doing the early damage. Bumrah removed Rahmanullah Gurbaz (21), Ibrahim Zadran (22) and Rahmat Shah (16) to reduce Afghanistan to 63 for three.

Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi then steadied the innings with a fine knock of 80 off 88 balls, hitting eight fours and a six. He found an able partner in Azmatullah Omarzai, who scored a quickfire 62 off 69 balls, with two fours and four sixes. The duo added 121 runs for the fourth wicket, taking Afghanistan past the 200-run mark.

However, once Omarzai fell to Hardik Pandya in the 38th over, Afghanistan lost their momentum and wickets at regular intervals. Mohammad Nabi (19), Najibullah Zadran (2) and Rashid Khan (16) could not provide much support to Shahidi, who was eventually run out by Kohli in the final over. Afghanistan finished with 272 for eight in their allotted 50 overs.

Bumrah was the pick of the Indian bowlers, taking four wickets for 39 runs in his 10 overs. Pandya took two wickets for 43 runs in seven overs, while Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav chipped in with one wicket each. Ravindra Jadeja bowled economically, conceding only 38 runs in his eight overs.

Sharma was adjudged the player of the match for his scintillating knock that set up India’s easy win. With this victory, India moved up to second place on the points table with four points from two games. Afghanistan remained at the bottom with no points from two games.