Dubai, September 25: A spirited Afghanistan side proved why no team can afford to take them lightly as their all-round performance ensured the Super Four encounter against finalists India ends in a tie here on Tuesday (September 25).
The Indian side that was led by their most successful ODI captain, MS Dhoni, made a lot of changes to their playing XI and fielded a relatively inexperienced side but given their reputation they should have won this game. A tie for India - who are still unbeaten in the tournament - could be termed as bad as a defeat.
Afghanistan bowled exceptionally well in the middle overs and took the game into last-over thriller and India nine down. They showed great match awareness under pressure to effect some tight run outs in the last overs and created a chance for themselves.
With just a run required from the last two deliveries, Afghan spin sensation forced Ravindra Jadeja to play a lofted shot to be caught at midwicket by Naib which left the Indian camp and supporters stunned. The entire Afghan camp and supporters erupted into joy for the tie was no less than win as they stopped the second-ranked Indian side from crossing the line which was only their second match against the Men In Blue.
Indians were themselves to be blamed for making a mess out of this run chase for they kept losing wickets at regular intervals despite the opening stand of 110 runs. Chasing a target of 253, Indians were tested by a spirited Afghan bowling attack, particularly spinners and part timers. Indian middle-order wasn't tested much in the tournament and it was the first occasion in the tournament when their skills were brought to test and they faltered.
India's performance would encourage which ever team reaches the final to try and get their in-form openers i.e. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan out cheaply which could very well give them an opportunity to put the middle-order under pressure.
Earlier, Afghanistan's wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad slammed his career's fifth ODI century and first against India while seasoned campaigner Mohammad Nabi scored a breezy half-century and helped their team post a fighting 252/8 batting first.
Shahzad (124) started things on an aggressive note as he made most of an inexperienced Indian pace attack and later punished the spinners as well with his power hittings in their final Super Four match in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018. Nabi scored a superb 64 and showed his calm and composure into the middle to ensure his bowlers have something to defend and test Indian batting, sans Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.
Ravindra Jadeja (3/46) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/38) bowled exceptionally well in the middle overs and helped his team pull things back well.
AS IT HAPPENED:
A young Indian fan couldn't stop his emotions as his favourite team couldn't win the game against Afghanistan. Turbanator Harbhajan Singh took to Twitter to console the young kid.
Koi na putt Rona Nahi hai final aapa jittange 🇮🇳🇮🇳😘 pic.twitter.com/fjI0DWeBoy— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) September 25, 2018
India will have to ask a lot of questions to themselves for they didn't play well and should have won this game irrespective of those dismissals which went against them.
MS Dhoni's 200th ODI as captain ends on a disappointing note as his team definitely deserved to win but the way their batsmen played in the middle overs pushed the game away from them.
For all of Afghanistan's pluck, India must ask why a gettable total became so difficult to surpass. Even with the umpiring calls, should still have crossed the line.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 25, 2018
This is India's 8th tie in ODIs overall while this is the first-ever tie for Afghanistan.
Afghanistan have tied this game as Rashid Khan gets the final wicket of Ravindra Jadeja on the 45.5th ball. What a game of cricket this has been? Afghanistan are the clear winners for they first pushed this Indian Team to the walls and snatched victory from India's jaws. This certainly was the best game of the tournament as Afghanistan tested India till the very end and pulled things exceptionally well after India's openers gave them a blistering start.
Run Out! Kuldeep Yadav (9) departs while attempting a third run. India - 242/8 now. Afghanistan are just two wickets away from winning this game, or they need to ensure India couldn't score 11 more runs.
After 47 overs, India have reached 236/7 and they require another 17 runs from 18 balls. Afghanistan are certainly at the top in this game.
Wicket! Deepak Chahar (12) is clean bowled by Aftab Alam. Afghanistan are on top as India 226/7 in 44.5 overs. They still need 27 off 31. It's not going to be easy for India from here on.
4! Deepak Chahar hits a boundary on the penultimate delivery off the over. India - 223/6 in 44 overs. 30 needed from 36. Mujeeb has completed his quota of overs, but Rashid still has 2 overs to bowl.
Wicket! Dinesh Karthik (44) is trapped in front by Nabi and India have lost two wickets in a gap of 1 run. India are 205/6. This game is far from over. Afghanistan are scripting a comeback here. It's not going to be an easy chase for India.
Unlucky dismissal! Kedar Jadhav (19) departs at a critical juncture as he's run out. a shot from DK hit Mujeeb's hand and crashes into the stumps. Jadhav was out of the crease confirmed the third umpire. India 204/5 in 38.5 overs. Have Afghanistan got the breakthrough they were searching for?
India 180/4 after 33 overs in the run chase. They need 73 more runs to win this game. Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have 5 overs each left. Indian middle-order has some task ahead.
Wicket! Manish Pandey (8) tries to cut Aftab Alam but finds an edge and MS Shahzad pouches him comfortably. India are four down at 166. The middle-order has been exposed for the first time in the tournament and they haven't yet delivered.
29 overs have been bowled so far and India have reached 160 for the loss of three wickets. 93 more runs required by India two win this game.
Big Wicket! Ahmadi traps Dhoni in front and the captain's innings ends on 8. India are 142/3 in 25.5 overs. The ball was missing the wickets by a margin but Rahul had wasted the DRS earlier. Unlucky for him.
Dhoni unlucky with the lbw decision against him, but must say he was struggling against the spinners all through his brief stay in the middle. Still searching for that uplifting, reassuring inning— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) September 25, 2018
Wicket! KL Rahul tried to reverse-sweep Rashid and misses it completely and gets trapped in front. End of his innings on 60 and India have lost 2 wickets in 20.3 overs. There wasn't any need to play such an ambitious shot. Both the openers have thrown their wickets away.
And that's fifty for KL Rahul off 55 balls. The right-handed batsman also makes most of the opportunity.
Wicket! Ambati Rayudu (57) tried to clear Mohammad Nabi for a maximum but the ball went very high into the sky and couldn't get the distance. Najib takes a well judged catch near boundary ropes. Rayudu might be unhappy with himself as he had a genuine chance of making it big. India - 110/1 in 17.1 overs.
24 runs came from 9th and 10th over combined and India have reached 65/0 in the powerplay. The openers have given India a solid start in the run chase.
After 6 overs, India have reached 26/0 in the run chase. Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have troubled the Indian openers.
KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu have opened the innings for India in the run chase. They have scored 19 in three overs in the run chase of 253.
End of the innings! Afghanistan have batted all 50 overs as they score 252/8. Khaleel concedes 4 off the final over as he finishes with figures of 10-1-45-1. MS Shahzad (124) and Mohammad Nabi (64) shine with the bat for Afghanistan. The batsmen have played their role well and onus now shifts on their bowlers to restrict Indian batsmen and win this one.
Khaleel Ahmed ends a brilliant knock of Mohammad Nabi for 64. Kuldeep and Karthik had collided but Kuldeep ensured he doesn't lose the ball from his hands. Afghanistan - 244/8 in 47.3 overs.
Wicket! Jadeja traps Najibullah Zadran (20) LBW and the batsman even wasted the DRS. Afghanistan - 226/7 in 44.1 overs.
Fifty! Mohammad Nabi has reached his half-century off 45 balls.
Wicket! MS Shahzad's memorable knock comes to an end as Kedar Jadhav gets rid of the dangerman for 124. The batsman mistimed against the flighted delivery and Dinesh Karthik picks a well-judged catch at long-off. Afghanistan are six down.
An achievement for MS Shahzad!
Mohammad Shahzad's century is the first against India by any batsman from teams apart from first 10 Test nations.— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) September 25, 2018
No. of 100s for each team v Ind:
0 for other teams#IndvAfg #AsiaCup
Virender Sehwag congratulates MS Shahzad for his quickfire ton.
Brilliant 100 from Mohammad Shahzad. Seems to be batting on a different wicket.— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) September 25, 2018
Wicket! Gulbadin is dismissed for 5 as he's caught in the deep by Kedar Jadhav and Deepak Chahar gets his maiden ODI wicket. Afghanistan are 132/5 now, but MS is still present into the middle.
Century! Standing ovation! MS Shahzad has notched up his century off 88 deliveries. This is going to a memorable innings from the batsman as this ton has come against a top country.
Well played Shahzad. Truly a top class performance 💯👏👏👏— Gaurav Kapur (@gauravkapur) September 25, 2018
25 overs have been bowled and Afghanistan are 117/4. Shahzad is batting at 97*. How long do you think he's going to reach his 5th century?
Reprieve! MS Shahzad is having quite a memorable outing here. He was almost dismissed by Khaleel Ahmed as MS Dhoni caught him behind the stumps and umpire ruled in fielding side's favour. The batsman went upstairs to review it and was spot on as there was no contact between bat and ball. He's raced on to 94* off 77 balls and nearing his 5th ODI century.
Hundred up for Afghanistan in the 19th over. Shahzad is batting well on 87*.
Gulbadin Naeem is into the middle to face the hattrick delivery from Kuldeep and he defends the ball.
Wicket! Two in two for Kuldeep Yadav. Afghan captain Asghar Afghan is clean bowled for first ball duck and Afghanistan are 83/4. Kuldeep is on a hattrick.
Wicket! Another quick stumping from MS Dhoni and Kuldeep Yadav gets rid of Rahmat Shahidi for 5. Afghanistan are 82/3.
Wicket! Javed Ahmedi (5) is stumped by Dhoni and Jadeja gets India their first breakthrough. Afghanistan - 65/1 after 12.5 overs. Ahmedi played 30 deliveries while Shahzad did most of the damage.
11th over - 1 12th over - 1 Kuldeep Yadav and Kedar Jadhav have been introduced by Dhoni immediately after the powerplay and they have put some break on the run flow. But they haven't yet got any wickets.
Afghanistan are off to a blistering start. They are 63/0 after 10 overs. MS Shahzad is batting at 56* while Javed Ahmadi is unbeaten at 3*.
50! Mohammed Shahzad brings up his half-century off 36 deliveries. He is reaping the benefits of an inexperienced Indian pace attack. Ambati Rayudu fails to catch him at mid-off on 49*. @ACBofficials are off to a blistering start. They are 57/0 after 9 overs.
000000! Ravindra Jadeja has been brought into the attack and he starts with a maiden over.
SIX! Mohammad Shahzad hits Khaleel Ahmed for a maximum over straight boundary. He's clearing his intentions with the bat against an inexperienced Indian pace attack.
After 5 overs, Maiden over from Khaleel Ahmed. Afghanistan are 35/0. Siddharth Kaul has been brought into the attack by skipper MS Dhoni.
1 2 1 NB WD WD 6 0 4! 17 runs conceded by Deepak Chahar in the fourth over.
Afghanistan's openers Mohammad Shahzad & Javed Ahmadi starts innings. Young Khaleel Ahmed and debutant Deepak Chahar are bowling with the new ball for India.
Ravi Shastri hands Deepak Chahar the coveted blue cap. Chahar will make his debut today. And MS Dhoni will captain the Indian team after 696 days. This is Dhoni's 200th ODI as captain since Rohit Sharma is not paying this game. AND Afghanistan won the toss and opted to bat first.