Afghan win will sharpen India World Cup bid, says Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal says being pushed hard by lowly Afghanistan in the World Cup will boost India’s confidence for the rest of the tournament.

Virat Kohli’s India have swept all before them in England and Wales so far, beating South Africa, Australia and Pakistan and taking a point from an abandoned game against New Zealand.

They are now third in the 10-team table, behind Australia and New Zealand, with the top four qualifying for next month’s semi-finals.

Saturday’s match against Afghanistan in Southampton was not expected to trouble second-ranked India but in the end they scraped home by just 11 runs.

India posted 224 for eight in their 50 overs and a Mohammed Shami hat-trick finally finished off Afghanistan, who have now lost all six of their matches at the tournament.

“Obviously, most of the time when we bowl, our team has scored 340, 350 and especially when you score 240 and 230 there are some negative points and some positives,” said leg-spinner Chahal.

“When you win these types of games you have more confidence you can score 240 or 250 and as bowlers we can defend this.”

Chahal, who took two wickets in Afghanistan’s reply, added: “At first we thought we could go to 260, 270 but they bowled so well so we were like, if we can score 230, 240 it is not an easy wicket if we put more pressure on them so we would have a chance.”

When asked if India’s bowlers had proved they could defend low totals, he said psychology was key.

“Sometimes you can’t even defend 350 and sometimes you can defend 250. It’s all about your mindset,” he said.

“We knew this game was very crucial — win this game and we would go to second or third position and after that we are playing England and West Indies and Sri Lanka. They are good teams.”