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Jaiswal, Dube steer India to 2nd T20 win over Afghanistan | Cricket

For a moment, let’s turn our focus away from discussing the T20I future of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Instead, let us focus on Yashasvi Jaiswal because the left-handed opening batter is here to stay.

Jaiswal’s show should surely settle the debate on at least one opening slot for India at this year’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and United States.(ANI)

He underlined that with a sublime show at Indore’s Holkar Stadium on Sunday, which should surely settle the debate on at least one opening slot for India at this year’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and United States.

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In pursuit of 173 in the second T20I, Jaiswal smashed 68 off just 34 balls (5×4, 6×6), guiding India to a six-wicket win for an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series against Afghanistan. Shivam Dube, another left-handed batter, wasn’t any less impressive. The all-rounder from Mumbai (63*, 32 balls) backed up his 40-ball 60* in the opener with another big-hitting exhibition.

On a day when Sharma was dismissed for a second consecutive duck and Kohli went after a quickfire 16-ball 29, the performance of the youngsters was a sign that they are equipped to shoulder India’s hopes at the marquee event provided they are backed.

Having missed the opening game due to a sore groin, Jaiswal’s knock illustrated why Shubman Gill had to make way on Sunday. Coach Rahul Dravid will be pleased after throwing his weight behind Jaiswal at the beginning of the series.

While his lean physique doesn’t indicate a fearsome ball-striker, he seems to be just as adept as anybody else in this Indian set-up at finding the boundary. Among his sixes in the powerplay against the pacers featured a loft over mid-on, a pull through square leg and a drive over mid-off. When the fielding restrictions eased, Jaiswal didn’t relent versus spin either. He skipped down the track against off-spinner Mohammad Nabi, hitting through the line and clearing the straight boundary with ease. He also carted Noor Ahmad’s left-arm wrist spin for a couple of sixes. The pleasing thing about Jaiswal’s batting is that he’s seldom guilty of losing his shape at the point of contact.

Dube also joined in the fun, most notably smashing Nabi for three consecutive sixes during a 92-run partnership off 42 balls with Jaiswal.

That Afghanistan managed to get 172 — their highest total in T20Is against India — was down to Gulbadin Naib’s 35-ball 57 after his promotion to No. 3. India, electing to bowl for the second successive game, began with seamers Arshdeep Singh and Mukesh Kumar before turning to leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi in the third over. Bishnoi struck almost immediately, getting Rahmanullah Gurbaz caught at mid-on.

Naib came to the crease and injected a sense of purpose straightaway as Afghanistan reached 58/2 at the end of the powerplay. He was away with a couple of fours against Mukesh in the fourth over, swatting a short ball in front of deep square leg before driving a full toss through cover.

Naib took on Bishnoi too. Off the first three balls of the fifth over, 14 runs came as Naib pounced on anything loose. A short ball was pulled through midwicket for six while the cover region was peppered when Bishnoi offered width.

Just as Afghanistan seemed to be seizing the initiative though, Axar Patel managed to strike. It was a clever bit of bowling by the left-arm spinner, tossing the ball up and beating Ibrahim Zadran’s attempted drive to hit off-stump.

Naib’s onslaught meant he reached fifty off 28 balls. He couldn’t carry on, however, for as long as Afghanistan desired. It was Axar — the pick of the Indian bowlers in the opening T20I — who again delivered the breakthrough, coercing Naib into mistiming his heave to Sharma at midwicket by bowling a tad slower through the air.

If Afghanistan still managed to get to 172, cameos from Karim Janat and Mujeeb Ur Rahman helped. As did a 20-run 19th over by Dube, who doesn’t quite have the death-bowling skills to negotiate these situations.

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