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Rediff.com  » Cricket » PHOTOS: Rashid helps Afghanistan pull-off thrilling tie against India

PHOTOS: Rashid helps Afghanistan pull-off thrilling tie against India

September 26, 2018 01:47 IST

IMAGE: Rashid Khan, centre, celebrates after taking Ravindra Jadeja's wicket as the match ended in a tie. Photograph: ICC/Twitter

Rashid Khan dismissed Ravindra Jadeja in the final over as Afghanistan pulled off a thrilling tie against India in a Super Four match of the Asia Cup in Dubai on Tuesday.   

Needing seven off the final over, India had the match almost in the bag when Ravindra Jadeja (25 off 34) hit a four on the second ball. A couple of singles followed with India needing a run off two balls for a win.

Instead of looking for a single, Jadeja went for the big hit and ended up scooping the ball for a regulation catch at midwicket, cutting short India's joy and sending Afghanistan players into ecstasy.

 

The result was also a huge morale booster for Afghanistan, who could have easily been in the final if not for the last over losses against Pakistan and Bangladesh earlier in Super Four.

Opener Mohammad Shahzad had set up the game for Afghanistan with a whirlwind 124 off 116, the most significant hundred of his career, to take his team to 252 for eight.

IMAGE: India's openers KL Rahul, right, and Ambati Rayudu hit half-centuries. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

The 253-run target was a tricky one for India. India, who have already qualified for the final on Friday, remain unbeaten in the competition though they were left disappointed with the tie.

Afghanistan players, on the other hand, can go back home with their heads held high, having competed hard in the tournament.

India made as many as five changes in the eleven to give an opportunity to the reserves and rest key players including captain Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Ambati Rayudu (57 off 49) and Lokesh Rahul (60 off 66) shared 110 runs for the opening wicket and at that stage it seemed India would win it in a canter. However, the openers departed in quick succession, leaving their team at 127 for two in the 21st over.

IMAGE: Afghanistan's players celebrate the wicket of Deepak Chahar. Photograph: ICC/Twitter

Rahul perished while attempting a reverse sweep off Rashid Khan and ended up wasting a review when he was plumb in front. Dinesh Karthik (44) came in at three and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (8), captaining India for the 200th time, batted at four. The review was that was squandered by Rahul would have been better used for Dhoni and Karthik, who both fell to questionable LBW decisions.

Karthik's dismissal left India at 205 for six, leaving them to get 46 off 60 balls with Rashid still to bowl three overs.  

Jadeja's sensible batting took his side closer the finishing line with 13 needed off 12 balls. The pressure was also telling on India who suffered two needless run outs of Kuldeep Yadav and Siddharth Kaul in the 49th over. In the end, a tie was an apt result for the humdinger.

Earlier, Mohammad Shahzad slammed the most significant hundred of his career to take Afghanistan to 252 for eight in their 50 overs.

While the other batsmen struggled, it seemed the unconventional Shahzad was batting on a different surface, as he slammed 11 fours and as many as seven sixes.

Later, the experienced Mohammad Nabi produced a handy knock, 64 off 56 balls, to ensure that Afghanistan put up a competitive total.

Mohammad Shahzad

IMAGE: Mohammad Shahzad celebrates after scoring a century. Photograph: ICC/Twitter

The undisputed star of the evening was wicket-keeper batsman Shahzad, who was no short of inspiration in the middle with his role model Mahendra Singh Dhoni standing behind the stumps.

While his opening partner Javed Ahmadi was even struggling to get a single, Shazad thoroughly entertained the crowd with a barrage of big hits. He was ruthless especially against the rookie Indian pacers Khaleel Ahmed, Siddharth Kaul and debutant Deepak Chahar, who were played in place of the rested Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendar Chahal.

Chahar had a forgettable debut even though he picked up a wicket.

The other Indian players rested for the game were captain Rohit Sharma and his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan. KL Rahul and Manish Pandey replaced them in the eleven and as fate would have it, Dhoni stepped on the field to captain India for the 200th time.

Mohammad Shahzad

IMAGE: Mohammad Shahzad hits out. Photograph: ICC/Twitter

The pacers were guilty of bowling too full or too full and Shazad made them pay for their mistakes. Most of his lofty shots were crossed-batted as he cleared his front foot to hit the huge sixes over deep mid-wicket.

He even had his luck on his side as he was dropped at mid-off on way to completing a half-century. He surprisingly experienced the nervous 90s before finally reaching the three figures for the fifth time in ODIs, with a flick off Chahar for a four to fine leg.

It was not a full-strength Indian bowling attack but that takes nothing away from Shazad's sensational effort. His other ODI hundreds had come against Canada, Zimbabwe, Scotland and Netherlands.

IMAGE: India's players celebrate a wicket during the Asia Cup match against Afghanistan. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

Afghanistan would have been in deep trouble if it was not for Shazad, who was running out of partners at one stage with his team reeling at 82 for four from 65 for no loss after Indian spinners Kuldeep Yadav (2/38) and Ravindra Jadeja (3/46) came into play in the middle overs.

Shahzad was then joined by Gulbadin Naib (15) and the two shared a 50-run stand for the fifth wicket.

After his dismissal, Nabi started plundering the bowlers, hitting four sixes and three boundaries to take help the team cross 250.

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