All-rounder Shivam Dube hit an unbeaten half-century and took a wicket to lead India to a comfortable win over Afghanistan in the first T20I on Thursday.
Dube, a left-hand batsman, made 60 off 40 balls for his second T20I fifty as India chased down their victory target of 159 with 15 balls and six wickets to spare in Mohali.
India lead the three-match series 1-0 as they prepare for the T20 World Cup in June.
India’s bowlers, led by spinner Axar Patel, restricted Afghanistan to 158-5 despite an attacking 42 by Mohammad Nabi on a chilly winter evening.
Axar and fast bowler Mukesh Kumar took two wickets each while Dube returned figures of 1-9 from his two overs of medium-pace bowling.
But it was his batting that made the difference as he steered the chase with key partnerships including a 45-run stand with Jitesh Sharma, who made 31, and an unbeaten 42 with Rinku Singh, (16*).
Dube won the match with a six and four.
Rohit Sharma returned to lead India after over a year’s absence in the T20 format and elected to field first.
Afghanistan captain Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmanullah Gurbaz put on 50 for the opening wicket before the Indian bowlers hit back with Axar returning figures of 2-23.
Axar, a left-arm spinner, had Gurbaz stumped for 23 and Zadran (25) fell to Dube, who had earlier dropped the skipper on one.
Rahmat Shah had a forgettable debut after he was bowled by Axar for three but Nabi came in to steady the innings and then launch an attack with Omarzai.
Kumar cut short Omarzai’s innings on 29. Nabi smashed three sixes and two fours in his 27-ball knock before falling to Kumar.
India’s Virat Kohli missed the game due to “personal reasons” while Afghanistan spin king Rashid Khan remains out of the series as he recovers from a back surgery.
The second match is in Indore on Sunday.
© Agence France-Presse