India vs Afghanistan Rivalry: Given how Afghanistan played in the Asia Cup and World Cup qualifiers, it has been disheartening to see them losing five out of five games in their first ever World Cup tournament. Gulbadin and Co. have played five matches in the perennial tournament so far and the way they have been defeated in all these matches has perhaps dampened the spirits of the people in Afghanistan.
Coming into the tournament, Afghanistan was a side boasting of best spin attack in the form of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, and Mujeeb ur Rahman. However, the trio failed to make a telling impact in the tournament – particularly Rashid Khan. A bowler who has dominated in the T20 leagues across the world, Rashid failed to pick wickets in a high-voltage tournament. Khan was, in fact, went for 110 runs in nine over in Afghanistan’s last match against England. Ahead of the match against India, Afghanistan perhaps won’t be too high on spirits as India would look to take advantage of that and register their fourth victory in the World Cup.
Team India have made a rollicking start to their World Cup campaign, winning 3 out of four games they have played so far, with one getting washed out due to rain. India in their last match beat their arch-rivals Pakistan comfortably by 89 runs as they will look to earn their fourth win when they will play against Afghanistan on Saturday.
However, frequent injuries to players have been a sign of worry for them. Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the tournament due to a thumb injury. Bhuvneshwar will sit out in the next two games even as Vijay Shankar’s availability in the game against Afghanistan isn’t certain either. India would hope that KL Rahul and Mohammed Shami play to their potential and help their side continue the winning momentum in the World Cup.
Here a look at India vs Afghanistan Rivalry in ODIs: Head To Head
India and Afghanistan have only played twice in ODIs, both in Asia Cup tournaments.
#1 India vs Afghanistan: 9th Match, Asia Cup 2014
India and Afghanistan met each other for the first time in the Asia Cup in 2014. Batting first, Afghanistan faltered against spin as India’s spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin demolished Afghanistan batting line up, bundling them out for just 159 runs. It was a walk in the park chase for India as Virat Kohli and Co. reached to the total in just 32.2 overs. Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan gave India a solid start, adding 121 runs for the first wicket with both the openers scoring half-centuries apiece.
India 160 for 2, (Dhawan 60, Rahane 56)
Afghanistan 159, (Shenwari 50, Jadeja 4-30, Ashwin 3-31) by eight wickets
#2 India vs Afghanistan: 5th Match, Asia Cup 2018
A match which will be remembered for long, Afghanistan almost made an upset in what was their second ODI against India which eventually ended in a tie. Afghanistan’s wicket-keeper Mohammad Shahzad, who has been sent back to his nation from the World Cup for unknown reasons, played a spectacular 124-run inning in that match, hitting as many as seven sixes. Afghanistan notched 252 runs in the first innings.
MS Dhoni, who had given up captaincy in 2017, was once again handed the responsibility to lead the team as India rested Rohit Sharma among several other players. In pursuit of the target, India went with a new opening pair of KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu. The duo scored 110 runs for the first wicket before Mohammad Nabi accounted for Ambati Rayudu’s wicket in the 18th over. Thereafter, wickets kept tumbling in regular intervals as India manage to score 252 in the end, courtesy a good display of spin bowling from the spin trio of Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Afghanistan: 252 for 8 (Shahzad 124, Nabi 64, Jadeja 3-46)
India: 252 (Rahul 60, Nabi 2-40, Rashid 2-41)