Ageas Bowl crowd treated to World Cup thriller as India deny Afghanistan a shock success
A sell-out Ageas Bowl crowd were treated to a World Cup classic between Afghanistan and India which went to the final over.
Mohammed Shami took a final over hat-trick to edge India to an 11-run win but it was only after they had been given an almighty scare.
The minnows needed 16 off the last over to cause one of the major shocks in World Cup history.
When Mohammed Nabi drilled Shami’s first ball straight to the long on boundary anything seemed possible.
Two balls later though Nabi was caught on the same boundary trying to repeat his previous big hit.
Shami then finished Saturday’s game off in style by clean bowling the final two batsmen to claim his hat-trick.
It was a mighty relieved India who maintained their unbeaten record in the tournament.
From the start both sets of supporters made it a vibrant noisy occasion with their costumes, flags and drums.
India opted to bat first after winning the toss but were never able to break the shackles.Afghanistan gained early encouragement when Mujeeb Ur Rahman bowled Rohit Sharma in the fifth over.
India were labouring but all the time their captain Virat Kohli was at the wicket they remained confident.Kohli scored 67 off 63 balls but in the 31st over Afghanistan made their big breakthrough.The India supporters who had made their presence felt from the start were suddenly silenced.Nabi got a little extra bounce and Kohli top edged the ball to point and Rahmet Shah diving forward took the catch.India finished their 50 overs on 224 for eight and Afghanistan felt they had a real chance.In reply they lost Hazrat Zazai early on bowled by Shami trying to hit through mid wicket.At 106 for four India were back on top and their fans back in full voice.Afghanistan refused to give it up, though, and Najibullah Zadran (21 off 23 balls) and Rashid Khan (14 off 16 balls) along with Nabib kept them in the hunt.India were left biting their nails as their opponents needed 32 off 24 balls and then 21 off the final 12.The dramatic finish was a fitting finale to a wonderful game of cricket.