India vs Afghanistan, A match to remember for ages
It was a moment, when a little mighty fan with a tricoloured turban in the crowd began snivelling, as soon as final ball delivered in an exhilarating tie between Afghanistan and India at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. It won't take much time for that little Indian supporter to realise what he has witnessed. The lethal combination of 'experimental team India lineup playing under Mahendra Singh Dhoni's surprising captaincy' was enough reason behind witnessing yesterday's match, not only for that young supporter but also for every cricket supporter around the world. As Rohit Sharma would not be a part of playing XI, Dhoni would be replaced as captain against inexperienced Afghanistan, it might be predecided from team management though. If recent close encounters from Afghanistan gets concerned, many supporters might be having an idea of destruction level of Afghanistan. To my witness, it happened as per the expectations, just one run fell short of it.
The reason behind stepping in with 'Team B' against Afghanistan was as clear as it sounds. Prior to 'The Final' against either arch-rival or risen Bangladesh (probably Pakistan), it was necessary to check which substitutes are able to handle pressurized situations. A newcomer K Khaleel Ahmed surely made an impact by taking the single but crucial wicket of Md. Nabi who was setting himself on fire with four 6's & 3 boundaries. Khaleel turned quite economical with his bowling figures of 10 -1-45-1. Debutant Deepak Chahar conceded 37 runs with an economy rate of 9.2 and took Niab. Siddharth Kaul though having an experience of recently playing against England was not impressive. He figured 9-0-58-0. Allrounder Jadeja and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav altogether restricted five batsmen with an economy rate of 4.6 and 3.8 respectively, with Jadeja conceding a maiden over in his spell.
It was again a time when Indian skipper introduced part-timer Kedar Jadhav for seven overs replacing remaining 6 overs of Chahar and one from Kaul. And as usual, Kedar Jadhav successfully clinched wicket of Mohammad Shahzad who played a blistering and astounding inning of 124 runs off 116 balls with towering seven 6's and sharpened eleven boundaries.
Looking at 2nd innings, Indian openers began their campaign with steady but standing start with 110 runs partnership. The game turned its head when Rayudu tried to hit the ball over the ropes and caught at long on. The talented Rashid Khan outsmarted KL Rahul while he was experimenting for reverse sweeps. Middle order saga continued in this match also. Skipper & M. Pandey failed to make an impact. Situations could have been in India's favour if Karthik (using his seniority) had not pressurised M. Pandey, who later caught behind the stumps. Afterall Karthik went for 44 before Kedar Jadhav. Jadeja then took the guard till final over. It's one more time when Rashid came to bowl. Eventually, third umpire after judging the hard-hit ball from Jadeja as a boundary, on the final ball Jadeja under pressure tried to hit it hard again and lost his wicket to prodigy Rashid Khan. As it was not less than compairing it to the final for Afghanistan, They started their celebrations although ending it with a tie.
The unpredictable Afghanistani team played and lived every moment of the match with lots of experiments during their 2nd innings. The decision of calling part-timers for bowling after 25th over to 35th over by Asghar Afghan turned out to be a smart move. For Mohammad Shahzad, it could be an inning to remember. In the End, Afghanistan deserved this tie.