India record easy 8-wkt win over Afghanistan

ST LUCIA: India defeated minnows Afghanistan by seven wickets with 5.1 overs remaining in a Group C match in the World Twenty20 cricket here at Beausejour Stadium on Saturday.

Chasing an easy target of 116 runs, India achieved victory in 14.5 overs for the loss of three wickets.

Murali Vijay was the top-scorer with 48 from 46 balls. He hit three sixes and two fours and added 55 runs for the third wicket with Yuvraj Singh (23 not out). Later, captain Mahindra Singh Dhoni smashed two consecutive sixes to take his team to victory.

For Afghanistan, Hamid Hassan, Samiullah Shenwari and Dawlat Ahmedzai took one wicket each.

Earlier, Indian pacers bowled remarkably well to restrict Afghanistan at 115 runs for eight wickets after India captain Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first.

Afghan batsmen could not resist against Indian bowling as Ashish Nehra captured three wickets for 19 runs and Praveen Kumar claimed two for 14 while Zaheer Khan and Ravindra Jadeja took one wicket each.

Opener Noor Ali batted very well and succeeded in completing his first fifty in T20 internationals. He made exact 50 from 48 balls with four boundaries.

Middle-order batsman Ashgar Stanikzai also played well and made 30 from 33 balls with three sixes.

They were the only batsmen in the double-figures and both added 68 for the fourth wicket stand but after three quick dismissals the Afghan batsmen could take their score only to 115 as their overs quota ended.

India omitted four players - Rohit Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Piyush Chawla and Dinesh Karthik - from the final eleven.

This was qualifiers'' Afghanistan''s first match in the World Twenty20.