Rashid Khan kept his nerve by defending 7 runs in the last over, as the Super 4 match between India and Afghanistan ended in a tie. The fixture, also MS Dhoni’s 200th as India captain, saw Afghanistan take third consecutive game to the 50th over, following similar thrillers against Bangladesh and Pakistan.
India chose to give all their reserve players an opportunity, with the likes of Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Sid Kaul, KL Rahul and Manish Pandey all brought into the XI.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, the opening pair of Mohammad Shahzad and Javed Ahmadi gave their team a rollicking start by adding 65 runs before the latter was stumped by Dhoni off Ravindra Jadeja for 5 runs.
Kuldeep Yadav then bagged couple of wickets in quick succession, getting rid of Hashmatullah Shahidi and skipper Asghar Afghan to reduce them to 82/4.
Wicket keeper Shahazad smashed the Indian bowlers all over the park with a magnificent century which helped Afghanistan reach a competitive total of 252/8 in their allotted 50 overs. His innings of 124 runs comprised of 11 fours and 7 sixes.
All rounder Mohammad Nabi also made a useful contribution of 64 runs lower down the order.
Jadeja was India’s best bowler with figures of 3/46 in 10 overs.
With the in form Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan rested, this was a test for India’s batsmen. Their new openers, KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu, got off to a fantastic start, putting on 110 run stand for the opening wicket before the latter fell for 57 runs while trying to attempt a big shot.
Rahul soon followed, leg before wicket for 66 runs to Rashid Khan. The Karnataka star however took the solitary review on offer- a decision that proved to be costly for India later in the game.
Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik both fell to debatable LBW’s where the ball appeared to be going down the leg side, but the Men in Blue could not contest either decision owing to Rahul’s mistake.
Deepak Chahar and Kuldeep Yadav supported Jadeja at the end but both perished as the left arm all rounder was left in the company of No.11 Khaleel with 7 to get in the last over.
Unlike the previous game against Pakistan, Afghanistan left the last over this time to their best bowler Rashid, and the 20 year old did not disappoint. With just one run left to get, Jadeja fell for 25 after he top edged a pull off the 20 year old leg-spinner to Najibullah Zadran, who was Afghanistan’s ONLY fielder outside the circle. The Indians were left stunned, while the Afghans erupted in joy.
Afghanistan 252/8 drew with India 252 all out.