Asia Cup 2018: Tie versus India is like a win for Afghanistan, says Asghar Afghan 

Afghanistan performed brilliantly against the more fancied opponent.

Afghanistan won everyone's heart with their overall performance in the tournament | Getty

Afghanistan skipper Asghar Afghan has termed the admirable tie against the world cricket powerhouse - India, equal to a great win for his young and inexperienced side. 

Afghanistan, which came just as close to sealing wins over Pakistan and Bangladesh earlier, gave the Mahendra Singh Dhoni led(on the day) Indian side a huge scare as they almost clinched a victory over the more fancied opponent in their last Super 4s Asia Cup 2018 game on Tuesday, September 25. 

Resting their several key players - Rohit Sharma(C), Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal - India went into the game short of some batting as well as bowling prowess and eventually, it proved to be the difference on the night. 

Afghanistan opener Mohammed Shehzad simply bamboozled the inexperienced fast bowling attack of Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar and Siddharth Kaul before scoring his first major International hundred in a knock of 124 off 116 balls. 

Even though Ravindra Jadeja (3/46) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/28) ensured India restrict the opponent to a generally manageable 252-10, it was still going to be a tough run-chase against Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammed Nabi - world's best limited overs spin attack.

However, India got off to a very good start with openers KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu scoring 60 and 57 respectively before the team suffered a middle-order stutter and lost wickets at regular intervals, with only Dinesh Karthik(44) doing something substantial. 

This is where Ravindra Jadeja took the game as deep as possible with his matured 25 but with only 1 wicket in hand and 8 runs required off the final over against Rashid Khan, he had to play a big shot at some stage. To Jadeja's credit, he played that shot for a boundary and managed to take it 1 off 2 balls, but then, he saw a short incoming ball from Rashid and played it with the spin over the infield only to see it being mistimed straight to the mid-wicket - the only fielder that was placed outside the 30-yard circle on the leg-side. 

Afghanistan's amazing story saw another golden chapter being written with a tie against world's cricket's biggest brand, India. 

Talking about his side's effort on the day, Asghar Afghan said afterwards, "Today the wicket was a good one for us. Shahzad played really well and very positive cricket. Their opening partnership was good and our spinners did an equally good job. When you tie a match with a side like India, it's just like a win. Such tough games are good for the fans as well," 

Afghan didn't finish off without showering deserving praise on his wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad for his outstanding knock. 

"Every time we have asked him, Shahzad has done it for us. Again, I give him a lot of credit for his knock," said Afghan on the day's man of the match and concluded. 

(Inputs from India Today)


By Kashish Chadha - 26 Sep, 2018

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