Team India remain unbeaten in the World Cup, but just after being excruciatingly close to defeat at the hands of Afghanistan, often derisively called the minnows. Afghan spinners, more accustomed to seeing guns and grenades on the roads than secure playing fields, bowled so splendidly as to choke the famed Indian batting lineup, their skills honed by years of playing spin slow home turfs. They spun a web with variations of pace and line so much so that Mahendra Singh Dhoni was deemed guilty of no positive intent in his slow stand -57 runs off 84 balls - with Kedar Jadhav. The day's statistics - India scoring only 119 runs from 34 overs of spin - told the tale of how well the Afghans built up the pressure to keep the batsmen on a leash.
Afghan batsmen posed a challenge in style. Having trained more in Noida and played international matches in India recently, they proved adept at handling India's s wrist spinners, the key to a few of the earlier World Cup wins. The challengers displayed calmness and composure in the chase right till the death. If not for the awkward questions Jasprit Bumrah posed and Mohammed Shami doing the executioner's job in the last over with a hat-trick, the result could easily have gone the other way. The key conclusion to be drawn from this match is modern Indian batsmen are no great shakes against spinners, unlike their predecessors who were outstanding performers against the quicks as well as the tweakers. There is clearly some planning to be done about how to make more runs against spin in the remainder of the World Cup if Team India is to fancy its chances.