'Ticked boxes' as India crush Afghanistan to clinch T20 series

INDORE: Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shivam Dube smashed half-centuries as India thrashed Afghanistan by six wickets in the second Twenty20 international in Indore on Sunday to clinch the three-match series.

Jaiswal, who hit 68 off 34 balls, returned to the team along with star batsman Virat Kohli after the two missed the opening win.

Jaiswal put on key partnerships including a 92-run stand with left-handed partner Dube, who hit an unbeaten 63, as India chased down their victory target with 26 balls to spare and take an unbeatable 2-0 lead.

Top-ranked India have been unbeaten at home for 15 consecutive T20 series.

Their bowlers set up victory with left-arm spinner Axar Patel leading the charge with figures of 2-17 to help dismiss Afghanistan for 172 despite Gulbadin Naib's 57.

"The last two games, we've ticked a lot of boxes," India skipper Rohit Sharma said after the win.

Rohit praised Jaiswal and Dube.

"They've had a great couple of years. Jaiswal has played Test cricket now and even T20. He has shown what he is capable of. He has the talent and has a great range of shots.

"Dube is a big guy, very powerful and can take on the spinners. That is his role and he has come out and played two crucial innings for us."

Kohli, who played his first T20 for India since November 2022, made 29 in a partnership of 57 with Jaiswal after Rohit fell for a second successive duck.

Jaiswal took apart the opposition bowling after left-arm quick Fazalhaq Farooqi bowled Rohit and fellow fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq took down Kohli.

Jaiswal reached his fourth T20 half-ton for India and Dube, who starred in the team's opening win, joined the charge to hit his second successive fifty.

Jaiswal hit five fours and six sixes before he fell to Karim Janat who struck twice in an over but Dube stood firm to steer the team home and gi past his previous T20 best of 60 not out.

Earlier Naib, a top-order batsman, took on the Indian bowling attack in his 35-ball knock laced with five fours and four sixes.

He made his fourth T20 half-century for Afghanistan but fell when Patel had him caught at short mid-wicket by Rohit.

Wickets kept tumbling, but Najibullah Zadran (23 off 21 balls), Janat (10-ball 20) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (21 off nine) boosted the Afghanistan total.

"Sometimes we play well in the powerplay, sometimes in the middle (overs), and sometimes in the death overs," skipper Ibrahim Zadran said.

"We are going for the T20 World Cup, so we don't want to repeat these."

The last over from left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh, who ended with three wickets, brought four wickets including two run outs as Afghanistan were bowled out on the final ball.

Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi took two wickets.

The final match is on Wednesday in Bengaluru. - AFP

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