World T20 Srilanka 2012: India beat Afghanistan by 23 runs in World Twenty20 opener

Yuvraj Singh (3-24) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2-20) helped India beat Afghanistan by 23 runs in their opening ICC World Twenty20 match at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on Wednesday.

Chasing 160-run target, Afghanistan lost wickets at regular intervals after a steady start as they were bowled out for 136 in 19.3 overs.

Pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji (3-19) finished off the Afghanistan innings with twin strikes in consecutive balls in the final over. Mohammad Nabi (31) became the second victim of offie R Ashwin in the seventeenth over which basically ends the Afghanistan hopes in the match. They are reduced to 119/7 in 16.5 overs.

Nabi scored a blistering 31 off just 17 balls which included two huge sixes and two fours. Irfan Pathan got rid of Shafiqullah (8) in the fifteenth over to break a decent 24-run sixth wicket stand for the Afghans.

Afghanistan lost half their side for just 76 runs in 12.1 overs. After a steady start to their run chase, Afghanistan lost lost three wickets for one run in six deliveries to be reduced to 76/5 in 12.1 overs from 75/2 in 11.2 overs.

Ashwin struck in the thirteenth over to dismiss Samiullah Shenwari (1) soon after Yuvraj Singh scalped two Afghan wickets in consecutive deliveries in the previous over.

Yuvraj dismissed Asghar Stanikzai (6) and Karim Sadiq (26) in successive balls to rock the Afghanistan run chase. Sadiq hit three boundaries in his run-a-ball innings before becoming Yuvraj's second victim.

Yuvraj Singh also dismissed Afghanistan skipper Nawroz Mangal (22) in the eighth over to break a decent 26-run second wicket stand with Karim Sadiq.

Mangal hit a six and a four in his 18-ball innings as the minnows are reduced to 52/2 in 7.1 overs. Afghanistan lost Mohammad Shahzad (18) after the openers added a steady 26 runs against India.

Lakshmipathy Balaji struck in the fourth over to give India an early breakthrough as the pacer reduced Afghanistan to 26/1 in 3.5 overs. Sent in to bat, Virat Kohli (50) and Suresh Raina (38) helped India post 159/5 against Afghanistan.

Kohli and Raina led the Indian fight back after they lost three early wickets as pacer Shapoor Zadran gave Afghanistan a dream start by dismissing Virender Sehwag (8) and Gautam Gambhir (10) inside five overs.

Shapoor dismissed Sehwag in the fifth over to reduce India to 22/2 in 4.1 overs. Some late charge by skipper MS Dhoni, who hit 6 off the last ball, helped India post a competitive 160-run target.

Mohammad Nabi dismissed Raina in the final over, after the southpaw added 34 runs for the fifth wicket with Dhoni. Raina hit six boundaries in his 33-ball innings.

Dawlat Zadran scalped the prized wicket of in-form Kohli in the sixteenth over to reduce India to 114/4 in 15.4 overs. Kohli smashed two sixes and four boundaries in his rapid 39-ball 50 knock as he led the India fightback.

India lost Yuvraj Singh (18) after he put on 48 runs for the third wicket with Kohli. Karim Sadiq dismissed Yuvraj in the eleventh over to halt the dangerous looking third wicket stand for India as the 2007 champions are reduced to 68/3 in 10.1 overs.

Yuvraj hit a six in his slow 20-ball 18 knock as he tried to resurrect Indian innings with Kohli after early blows. Sehwag nicked it to the wicket-keeper to give away the left-armer his second wicket.

Gambhir hit a four in his 8-ball innings before the left-hander became the first victim of the Afghan paceman as India are reduced to 15/1 in 2.1 overs. Earlier, Afghanistan skipper Nawroz Mangal won the toss and decided to field against India.

India have left out Harbhajan Singh for the match. "I think the pitch will remain the same, it might get a bit slower as the match progresses," India skipper MS Dhoni said after losing the toss.

News Source: The Times of India