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Jadhav brushes off doubts over India’s batting after avoiding Afghanistan shock

Mohammed Shami claimed a hat-trick to see India over the line.

Kedar Jadhav defended India’s batting display (Nigel French/PA)
Kedar Jadhav defended India’s batting display (Nigel French/PA)

Kedar Jadhav has defended India’s middle-order batting after their tense 11-run World Cup victory over Afghanistan in Southampton.

Mohammed Shami bagged a final-over hat-trick and Jasprit Bumrah plundered two crucial wickets as the pace attack dug India out of jail on the south coast.

Jadhav hit 52 and captain Virat Kohli 67 as India mustered a miserly 224 for eight from their full 50 overs, only for Afghanistan to fall just shy of what would have proved a famous upset.

Jadhav insisted however that the Hampshire Bowl pitch played a crucial role in the low-scoring affair, despite India still appearing to keep their powder dry with the knockout stages in mind.

“When I went in to bat I felt the wicket was not on the flatter side,” said Jadhav.

“The ball was not coming that easily onto the bat so we had to take our time. And they had two or three quality spinners.

“And that doesn’t help when the wicket is slow.

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Mohammed Shami (centre) bagged a hat-trick to see his side over the line (Nigel French/PA)

“I think we can definitely improve on this, but I don’t see any other team having three or four quality spinners.”

Shami’s stunning hat-trick finally put paid to Afghanistan’s hopes of pulling off the mother of all World Cup shocks.

And Jadhav hailed his character for shaking off being hit for four in the first ball of that final over to recover and skittle Mohammad Nabi, Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman in succession.

“We believe in our fast bowlers to do the job for us at the death,” said Jadhav.

“It’s about how you come back after you are hit for four. And that’s what Shami did today. That’s when character comes into play.

“The pitch was slow so it was difficult to play shots. Our actual plan was 250, but we fell short.

“We knew we’d need to make up 20 or 30 runs in the field, so credit to the bowlers for defending this total.”

Rashid Khan was hit for a World Cup-record 110 runs from nine overs as Afghanistan were thrashed by England last time out.

In Southampton though, Khan returned fine figures of one for 38 from 10 overs, leaving captain Gulbadin Naib to praise the 20-year-old’s resolve.

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Rashid Khan responded well to a tough game at Old Trafford (Tim Goode/PA)

“At one point I thought we might be able to win easily, but in the end we were all emotional inside,” said Naib.

“We’re upset because we had a chance for a victory which would be a big achievement for any team.

“Today we missed the opportunity to beat India. They are my favourite team and I support them when I am watching.

“Virat Kohli is my favourite player and it was great to play against him. But we came back strongly from our last game, which was important.

“Rashid had bowled pretty badly against England, and he came back well.”

PA

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