India galloped to a seven-wicket win over Afghanistan in their Group C World Twenty20 opener.
Chasing a winning target of of 116 runs, India made it in 14.5 overs with Murali Vijay (48) and Yuvraj Singh (23 not out) doing the bulk of the scoring. Skipper Mahendra singh Dhoni (15) struck two sixes to finish the match.
Minnows Afghanistan showed courage to stand up to cricketing giants India. Afghanistan have been the talk of this tournament as in only two years, they have risen from Division Five of the
World Cricket League to the elite 12-nation World Twenty20. They just missed out on qualifying for the 2011 ODI World Cup but have earned the full one-day international status.
The Afghan players have picked up most of their cricketing skills at refugee camps and managed to put together a team with the bare minimum and not even a stadium in their country.
So when the tall and sturdy Afghans took the field in blue and red-bodered jerseys, almost similar to India's, they gave their best and ensured they matched up to their rivals in cricketing skills as well.
Put in, Afghanistan lost wickets early and were reduced to 29 for three before opener Noor Ali (50 off 48 balls) and Asghar Stanikzai (30 off 33 balls) pulled them out of trouble. Ali and Stanikzai shared 68 runs, but both were dismissed on the same score of 97 and Afghanistan then lost five wickets for just 17 runs.
Ali played good cricketing shots and showed temparament to work the ball around on the slow track.
Stanikzai demonstrated power as he struck three sixes, all in the deep mid-wicket region, incuding a towering one off Harbhajan Singh.
But after their dismissal, Afghanistan lost wickets in heaps as the batsmen played attacking shots but were done in by the short deliveries. Ashish Nehra took three wickets giving away 19 runs.
Afghanistan were impressive in both bowling and fielding. Left arm speedster Shapoor Zadran worked up a good pace.
Right-arm medium fast Dawalat Ahmadzai got the wicket of Gautam Gambhir with Mohammad Nabi taking a fine catch at cover point.
Vijay, who had a fine run in the IPL and was included in the squad as a replacement for the injured Virender Sehwag, timed the ball well, hitting three sixes and two fours.
Leg spinner Samiullah Shenwari then took the wicket of Suresh Raina trapped lbw.
Medium pacer Hamid Hassin was the pick of the bowlers, dismissing Vijay and giving away just eight runs in three overs.
Afghanistan's bowlers made good use of slow nature of the turf and did manage to tie down the Indian batsmen in the middle overs.
After Vijay's dismissal, skipper Dhoni was in no mood to prolong their outing and struck Nowroz Mangal for two sixes to romp home.
Pakistan survives Bangladesh scare :
Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal both scored 73 and also shared a breezy 141-run opening stand to guide defending champions Pakistan to a 21-run victory over Bangladesh in the opening Group A match of the Twenty20 cricket World Cup.
Pakistan rode on Butt ((73 off 46) and Akmal's (73 off 55) top-order exploits to pile up a competitive 172 for three after skipper Shahid Afridi won the toss and elected to bat in the slow Beausejour Stadium.
Chasing the score, Bangladesh found themselves at the backfoot from the beginning, losing two early wickets but Mohammad Ashraful (65 off 49) and captain Shakib Al Hasan (47 off 31) kept them in the hunt with a quickfire 63-ball 91-run third wicket partnership.
Comeback man Mohammad Sami was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers with three wickets for 29 runs while he was ably supported by pace partner Mohammad Aamir (2/16) from the other end.
Ashraful and Shakib played sensibly with occasional hits to the fence to keep Bangladesh in the hunt.
But it was not be their day as needing approximately 10-an-over, both Ashraful and Shakib gave away their wickets in search of quick runs to eventually fell short by 21 runs.