Simply Cricket fans can say WOW! For a game which ends on a tie. It can be picked as one of their (Afghanistan) best ODI game over the years. India rested Rohit, Dhawan, Bumrah and Chahal in a last game in the super four and expected it is going to be an easy walk for them, but became a tough game for them which ended on a tie. 99.5 overs, 504 runs, 18 wickets and still, nothing to separate the two sides! You need to admire the Afghans who put up a great fight against a team, who are yet to be defeated in the ongoing tournament.
After winning the toss Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan decided to bat first on a fairly batting pitch in Dubai in their last game of the Asia Cup 2018. Mohammad Shahzad played some brilliant shots inside the first power play and continued till he reached to his hundred and 24 more runs to his score; he was caught by Karthik on the bowling of Kedar Jadhav when he was at 124. Shahzad came to open the innings with Javed who departed in 13th over in the partnership of 65 his contribution was off only 5 runs, followed by three quick wickets of Rahmat (3), Hashmatullah (0) and Asghar (0), left Afghanistan 82 for 4. Shahzad and Gulbadin added 50 more runs to the teams total; Gulbadin could only find Jadhav at 15 off 46 balls. Then Mohammad Nabi joined Shahzad who was doing a brilliant job for their team both put 48 runs partnership, after the dismissal of Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi took over the charge and made quick 64 which helped Afghanistan to post once again a par score on this pitch. Jadeja and Kuldeep were their pick of the bowlers, Jadhav, Khaleel and Chahar also picked up one wicket each.
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The way India started their run-chase it was in their reach from ball one, and they were marching towards 253, their top order batting gave a match winning start to Indian team, KL Rahul, Rayudu and Karthik made (60, 57 and 44) respectively. India survived with a mini collapse from 110 for no loss to 142 for 3, followed by a wicket of Manish Pandey when team score was 166 and they still need a fair amount of runs. When Jadhav and Karthik was batting at the crease it was once again game went in the favor of India, but soon after the loss of Jadhav’s wicket India’s run-chase faced second collapsed in the same innings, it all went to the last over when they were in need of 7 runs on the bowling of Rashid Khan. Worry was only that they had one wicket in their hands, Ravindra Jadeja had to face first ball of the last over, he didn’t connected well reason he rejected the single, On the next delivery he dispatched it for a four, team needed only 3 to win he took a single on next ball, Khaleel had to face next ball on which he managed to take a single although it would be a close call for him if Rashid collected that ball clearly. India needed only 1 run to win on last two deliveries Jadeja was back on the strike it was a short one, Jadeja tried to go for a big one to finish the game in the style, but he mistimed the pull, could only got a bit of a top-edge towards midwicket and Najibullah runs in from the deep to collect it. Calm and composed and make this game resulted on a tie. With this Rashid Khan became the third spinner who had to save 10 or lesser runs in final over of the ODI and ended on a tie. This was the fifth Tie ODI game for MS Dhoni which is the most under any captain’s leadership.
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Indian team has already qualified for Friday’s final where they meet the winners of Pakistan and Bangladesh match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Player of the Match: Afghanistan ace wicket keeper batsman gets the player of the match Award on his brilliant hundred for his team.
Mohammad Shahzad: “I am happy with the performance of the team. We have a flight tomorrow, so I thought of playing my game freely. I am feeling proud, because I have played an innings like this against the best side in Asia. I haven’t played well throughout the tournament, but I am happy that I played well in this one.”
Afghanistan 252/8 in 50 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 124, Mohammad Nabi 64; Ravindra Jadeja 46/3)
India 252/10 in 49.5 overs (Lokesh Rahul 60, Ambati Rayudu 57; Mohammad Nabi 40/2, Rashid Khan 41/2)
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