Asia Cup 2018: India, Afghanistan produce a classic, match ends in tie
There was finally some luck for Afghanistan as they held India to a nerve-wracking tie in their last match of the Asia Cup 2018. The result meant that the team enters the final unbeaten having won all five of the matches.
Chasing 253 to win, India began confidently with Ambati Rayudu taking the attack to the bowlers in the first powerplay. KL Rahul, in for rested skipper Rohit Sharma, followed suit after struggling in the initial overs. Both Rayudu and Rahul scored their second ODI fifties.
Rayudu was the first batsman out caught by Najibullah and he was soon followed by Rahul who reviewed his LBW decision against Rashid Khan.
MS Dhoni became the third batsman to be dismissed and he could have done with the review after he was given out LBW. Replays showed that the ball would have missed the stumps and Dhoni, captain for the day, looked visibly upset. Same was the case with Dinesh Karthik who was wrongly given out LBW for 44.
That was after Kedar Jadhav was run out in the most unfortunate of ways. India kept losing wickets and Afghanistan always felt they had a chance.
Requiring just 7 off the last over with one wicket in hand it looked as if India had the match in the bag with one required off the last two balls. But Jadeja who had kept his nerve till then holed out in the deep.
Earlier, Mohammad Shahzad played a brilliant knock to take Afghanistan to a competitive total of 252/8. The opener dominated the Indian bowlers and with 11 fours and seven sixes, he was the top-scorer for Afghanistan with 124 off 116 balls. After his dismissal, veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi took up the mantle and the 33-year old was able to bring up his 12th half century. He formed important partnerships with Najibullah Zadran and Rashid Khan in the later overs to take his team to a comfortable position.
It was the 200th ODI as skipper for MS Dhoni who was handed the responsibility in the absence of Rohit Sharma and vice-captain Shikhar Dhawan. Dhoni, who last captained India way back in 2016 against New Zealand, became the first Indian skipper and third overall to lead any national side for 200 ODI matches.
After losing the toss, Ravindra Jadeja was the top performer with the ball as he took three wickets while Kuldeep Yadav contributed with two dismissals. In the process, Jadeja also surpassed Sachin Tendulkar (17) to become India’s leading wicket-taker in Asia Cup history. Deepak Chahar, who was making his debut, struck once while the other two wickets went to Kedar Jadhav and pace bowler Siddarth Kaul.