In what promises to be an exciting cricket series, India is poised to face Afghanistan in the first game of the three-match T20I series at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Thursday, January 11. The clash will see Rohit Sharma, the charismatic Indian batsman, at the helm of the home team, while Ibrahim Zadran will lead the Afghan squad.
However, Virat Kohli has opted out of the first T20I against Afghanistan citing "personal reasons" ahead of the inaugural white-ball series between the two sides. He, will, however, make himself available for the second and third T20s. Here's how to watch India vs Afghanistan 1st T20 match.
Giant vs Minnows
Following a T20I series against South Africa that concluded with a 1-1 draw, India is determined to make a strong statement on home soil. The pivotal figure in India's pursuit of an early series advantage is Rohit, known for his explosive batting and strategic captaincy.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan enters the contest with a buoyant spirit after a successful T20I series against the United Arab Emirates (UAE), securing a 2-1 victory. Zadran, leading the Afghan team, aims to capitalize on the recent success and leave a lasting impression against the formidable Indian side.
However, India will miss Kohli's service in the first T20. India's head coach, Rahul Dravid, cited "family reasons" as the cause behind Kohli's withdrawal before he addressed the media.
Dravid also said that Rohit Sharma will be opening alongside Yashasvi Jaiswal. Unfortunately, Suryakumar Yadav, the top-ranked batsman in the world, will be absent from the playing XI due to an ankle injury.
The return of both India and Afghanistan to the shortest format after a hiatus of 14 months is generating significant interest. The upcoming three-match series holds particular importance as it serves as India's final T20 engagement before the T20 World Cup in June.
This provides the team with a valuable opportunity to assess its standing and gain clarity on its strengths and areas for improvement ahead of the ICC event in the Americas.
In the five encounters between India and Afghanistan, the Men In Blue have emerged victorious on four occasions, with one match concluding without a result. Afghanistan is yet to record their first win in the shortest format against India.
Here's How to watch the India vs Afghanistan, 1st T20I match.
When and Where
The India vs Afghanistan, 1st T20I will be played at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on January 11, 2024, Thursday, 7:00 PM IST.
How to Livestream
The India vs Afghanistan 1st T20I will be broadcast live on Sports 18 Network in India.
The India vs Afghanistan 1st T20I match will be live-streamed on JioCinema app and website.