Dhoni expects 'improved' Afghanistan to make life difficult for India

India will hope to avoid adding to the list of great limited-overs upsets when they open their World Twenty20 campaign against Afghanistan in a Group A encounter at Colombo’s Premadasa stadium today.

MS Dhoni

Today’s game may appear a mismatch, but Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said facing free-swinging Afghanistan, now in their second World Twenty20, was no easy task. “Wins don’t come easy in international cricket and we are certainly not going to take any side lightly,” said Dhoni, who led India to the inaugural World Twenty20 title in South Africa in 2007.

“We have to play our best cricket to beat Afghanistan. They are a good team and have improved a lot over the years.” Afghanistan captain Nawroz Mangal said his side had come a long way since their World Twenty20 debut in the Caribbean in 2010, when they lost to India by seven wickets.

“We are ready for the challenge,” Mangal said. “Teams like Ireland have shown that the best can be beaten and we are inspired by that. We too want to beat a big team. “Earlier our fans just wanted us to match the big sides, now they want us to beat them.” India go into the tournament chastened by a five-wicket defeat to arch-rivals Pakistan in Colombo on Monday.


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