Southampton: India batting all-rounder Kedar Jadhav credited the bowlers for defending a small target of 225 against Afghanistan at Rose Bowl on Saturday.
Mohammad Shami's hat-trick, including well-settled Mohammad Nabi (52), in the last over of the match helped India maintain their winning streak as they defeated Afghanistan by 11 runs. Earlier, while defending the total, Jasprit Bumrah got the much-needed breakthrough as he picked two wickets in the 29th over, dismissing Rahmat Shah (36) on the fourth ball, before sending Hashmatullah Shahidi (21) back to the pavilion on the last ball of the over.
"Our actual plan was to look for around 250, we were targeting 250-260 but we fell short of 20-30 runs. So we knew that we will have to make up those 20-30 runs in fielding. Credit to the bowlers that they defended this small total," Jadhav said in the post-match press conference.
"We obviously had belief in our depth, especially bowlers. Bumrah is number one bowler so we knew we needed just one wicket to break the partnership and the next batsman would find it difficult to score. We knew we were one wicket away from that crucial win. We believed in both the fast bowlers to do the job for us in the death overs," Jadhav said while referring to the dismissal of Nabi.
Talking about the pitch, Jadhav said it was slow and the ball was turning a little.
But when asked if it would have been better if India opted to field first, he dodged the question and said, "We felt it was good batting wicket it just played slightly slower on the first half."
"The wicket was slow and they (Afghanistan) were playing with four spinners. The ball was turning a little when we were playing. It was difficult to play shots when the wicket is such," he added.
Jadhav scored 52 runs off 68 balls, which saw three boundaries and one six before Gulbadin Nabi dismissed him. The Indian batsman formed a brief partnership of 57 runs with MS Dhoni and added 25 runs with Hardik Pandya.
India will next take on West Indies on June 27 at Old Trafford....