It could have gone awry. After 40 overs of play, the game was tied. After 4 more overs, there was nothing to separate the two sides. Finally Ravi Bishnoi conjured some magic with his wrist spin bowling to clinch victory in the most dramatic super over game till date. India would end the day caught between nerves and fond memories. Afghanistan would feel hard done by after playing so well. But this team should be proud of their achievements against a Indian team full of quality. This game was a all-time classic and demonstrated how uncertain cricket can be.
Both Teams made a host of changes to their team after the series was secured by India in the 2nd game at Indore. India decided to rest their preferred wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma in this format. 29 year old wicketkeeper batsman Sanju Samson got his chance to play an international T20 game once again. Kuldeep Yadav was finally given a chance to have go at the against the Afghans after an extended period of rest. 27 year old pace bowler Avesh Khan came in for the impressive Arshdeep Singh for this game. Axar Patel was also rested for this game.
Afghanistan made four changes to the team that was beaten by india in the second T20. Noor Ahmed was rested for this game. Sharafuddin Ashraf came in to replace him in the team. Afghanistan is never short of amazing wrist spin bowlers and Qais Ahmed is another name on the long list of leg spinners. Naveen-Ul-Haq and Mujeeb Ur Rahman were also rested for this game. 21 year old right arm pacer Saleem Safi got the chance to make this debut for Afghanistan. Fareed Ahmed also came to the first team to replace Fazalhaq Farooqi. Afghanistan is still without their talismanic skipper Rashid Khan.
- Rohit Sharma (Cap.) 2. Yashasvi Jaiswal 3. Virat Kohli 4. Shivam Dube 5. Sanju Samson (WK) 6. Rinku Singh 7. Washington Sundar 8. Ravi Bishnoi 9. Mukesh Kumar 10. Kuldeep Yadav 11. Avesh Khan
- Rahamnullah Gurbaz (WK) 2. Ibrahim Zadran (Cap.) 3. Gulbadin Naib 4. Azmatullah Omarzai 5. Mohmmad Nabi 6. Najibullah Zadran 7. Karim Janat 8. Sharafuddin Ashraf 8. Qais Ahmed 9. Qais Ahmed 10. Saleem Safi 11. Fareed Ahmed
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and had no hesitations in choosing to bat first. The M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru is known to be a batting paradise with a flat surface and small boundaries. Out of the nine T20Is that have been played at this ground, the team batting second have secured victory on five occasions, while the team batting first won the game thrice. The ideal scenario would be put a massive total on the board close to 200 and apply pressure to the chasing team by picking up early wickets. The average first team score on this ground is 173.
India and Afghanistan have met each other on 7 occasions before this match. India clinched six victories against their fellow Asians whereas Afghans are yet to win a match against Team India in any format. One game ended without any result due to inclement weather. After the one-off test in 2018, this was the third time the two sides met in a bilateral series. The last time these two sides met each other in the ODI format was in World Cup 2023 in a group match when Rohit Sharma showed his calibre with a stroke-filled century. Afghanistan had shown glimpses of their ability over the last few years in this format with a mix of majestic spin bowling and aggressive batting. Before this series, the two sides last met at the 2023 Asian Games final where India claimed the gold medal after a rain hit final.
|The third and final T20 international between India and Afghanistan was held at the iconic M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
|The game started at 7:30 p.m. ISt on Wednesday, January 17+.
Captaincy & Tactics
From a precarious position of 22 for 4, Rohit Sharma led India’s charge, partnering with Rinku Singh to forge a monumental stand that propelled India to a formidable total of 212 for 4 – the highest partnership ever recorded by India in T20Is. However, despite this exceptional feat, it proved insufficient to secure victory for the Indian side.
Undeterred by the setback, Rohit reiterated his dominance in the first Super Over, smashing two boundary-clearing sixes. In a surprising move, he decided to retire himself out to allow a better runner at the non-striker’s end. The valiant Afghan team, determined to break their streak of winless encounters against India, put up a spirited fight, led by Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Nabi, showcasing stunning batting performances. They even managed their highest-ever chase against India in T20Is. The Afghan bowlers also made an impactful start with the ball during regulation time.
This gripping clash shattered any notion of it being a mere dead rubber in a bilateral series. Unusual incidents unfolded, leaving spectators in absolute awe. Nabi and Rahmanullah Gurbaz created a frenzy by obtaining overthrows off their bodies on the last ball of the first Super Over, resulting in Virat Kohli expressing his frustration, clapping directly in Nabi’s face.
Moments later, with just two runs needed off the final ball, Rohit, positioned as the non-striker, opted to walk off the field, enabling Rinku to take charge of the running duties. However, Yashasvi Jaiswal’s shot only reached the wicketkeeper, triggering the need for another Super Over. Astoundingly, Rohit was permitted to return to the crease to bat, despite regulations suggesting it could only happen if he had retired earlier due to injury, illness, or exceptional circumstances.
The performance of Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the super over restricted India to just 11 from the second super over. Despite Rohit’s two boundaries India only managed to reach two figures due to the brilliance of the Kolkata Knight Rider wicketkeeper batsman.
However, after so much ebb and flow, India had rely on the services of their young leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi. It took only two balls from the 23 year old from Rajasthan to guide his country to victory. Mohammad Nabi was caught brilliantly by Rinku Singh on the long on boundary. Two balls later, Rahmanullah Gurbaz succumbed in the same way to hand India a ten run victory in the super over.
ndia’s victory lap was no easy feat, considering their shaky start. With the pitch initially posing challenges, Fareed and Azmatullah Omarzai exploited the variable pace and movement on offer. Despite their struggles, India displayed unwavering aggression in their approach. Jaiswal mistimed a shot that found a fielder near deep midwicket in his attempt to clear long-on. Consequently, both Kohli and Sanju Samson fell victim to golden ducks as they aimed to attack short-of-a-length deliveries. Omarzai continued his impressive form, masterfully using inswingers and one that seamed away to dismiss Shivam Dube.
Critics of aggressive starts might have found vindication in what transpired next. Rohit, initially scoring at a run-a-ball rate up until the 12th over, launched into an explosive acceleration. Hitting his stride, he targeted the debutant Mohammad Saleem, brilliantly manipulating the field by shuffling towards the off-side and capitalizing on any poor delivery within his range. Notably, Rohit executed five reverse sweeps during his innings, a remarkable feat considering he had rarely attempted such shots before. The first reverse-swept six brought his total to 40 off 36 balls, the first time his runs surpassed the deliveries faced.
Once Rohit discovered his rhythm, there was no stopping him. He played an array of innovative strokes, deftly guiding good balls to the boundary and punishing any errors in length. Rinku’s contribution proved crucial, as he hammered three consecutive sixes towards the end of the innings, injecting momentum into Rohit’s exceptional knock. Little did Rohit know that his heroics were far from complete; he would need to deliver two more extraordinary innings consecutively in one night to secure victory for India.
Avesh Khan and Ravi Bishnoi, who had struggled during regular play, demonstrated ample determination, engaging in a practice throw between themselves. Recognizing the introduction of two right-hand batters, India deployed leg-spinner Bishnoi, who rectified previous mistakes of bowling too quickly. Eying victory, Afghanistan’s Nabi and Gurbaz faced the daunting task of finding the much-needed power to hit sixes but fell short. Notably, Nabi had played a dreamlike innings earlier, smashing three sixes in a mere 16 balls, reigniting their pursuit of victory. Unfortunately for them, spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Bishnoi adjusted their approach under pressure, delivering flatter and quicker deliveries.
Soon, Karim Janat, who had conceded 36 runs in the final over of India’s innings, departed without contributing significantly. Although Afghanistan maintained a higher run-rate, they required 44 runs off the last 14 deliveries. Naib, showing immense determination, took charge and nearly single-handedly steered his team towards victory with some breathtaking shots. His final six brought the equation down to five runs needed off the last two deliveries.
Mukesh Kumar, who had previously bowled accurate straight yorkers during the first Super Over, erred slightly with wide deliveries in Afghanistan’s final over. Despite conceding a couple of hittable balls, he escaped unscathed. A slight misfield and a weak throw allowed Naib to secure the necessary second run, resulting in a tied match and leading to another Super Over. Even though Afghanistan had strived for a victory, their bowlers had faced a relentless assault in the last five overs, allowing India to accumulate the highest ever T20I score outside a match involving Nepal versus Mongolia. Incredibly, India amassed 58 runs in the last two overs alone.
Virat Kohli turned 35 in last November. Most of the players would look to wind down their career with limited movements in the field. But Kohli is a freak of nature and this game was another proof of that. Kohli saved a certain six by jumping in the air and parrying it inside the boundary line like a professional goalkeeper. He then took a stunning catch to dismiss Najibullah Zadran. He was also the catalyst behind the run out of Karim Janat. Kohli failed to score any run with the bat and was dismissed for a golden duck by Fareed Ahmed. But in a close match like this, this type of commitment and effort can change the tide of the match in your favour.
Rinku Singh was instrumental with the bat in the first innings. The explosive batsman showed incredible maturity in the outfield also. On the first ball of the second super over, Rinku Singh caught Mohammad Nabi brilliantly on the boundary. This killed the momentum for Afghanistan. On the third ball of the over, it was deja vu. This time Rahmanullah Gurbaz perished in a similar fashion.
Rohit Sharma finally got back to his groove by scoring his 5th century in the T20 format. The man from Pune scored 121 runs off 69 deliveries, hitting 11 fours and 8 sixes in the process. He found the ideal companion in Rinku Singh. The Kolkata Knight Riders superstar smashed an innings of 69 runs off 39 balls. Rinku hit four sixes in the last over bowled by Karim Janat. Fareed Ahmed bowled incredibly amid the batting onslaught. The 29 year old left arm pacer gave away just 20 runs from 4 overs. He also claimed three scalps. Abdullah Omarzai was the only Afghan bowler to secure a wicket, he went for 33 from his four over spell.
It was a collective effort with the bat by Afghans. The opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz (50 from 32) and Ibrahim Zadran (50 from 41) built a solid foundation for the latter batters. Gulbadin Naib continued his rich vein of form with another half century, the former captain remained unbeaten at the score of 55 from 23 deliveries. Veteran Mohammad Nabi put on a stellar show by scoring 34 from 16 deliveries. Washington Sundar was the pick of the Indian bowlers by taking 3 wickets for only 18 from his three overs. Avesh Khan and Kuldeep Yadav also picked one wicket each, but they were expensive.
Ravi Bishnoi was the ultimate hero for India after defending a score of 12 runs in the second super over. Rohit Sharma hit 3 sixes and a four in the balls he faced during the extended super over drama. Rinku Singh had a telling contribution on the ultimate fate of the match with two catches in three balls during the second super over.
The turning point came in the final over of the Indian innings. India had accumulated a score of 176 runs from 19 runs. Rohit Sharma was out there with Rinku Singh as his partner. India looked to get as close as possible to a score of 200. Karim Janat came in to deliver the 3rd over of his spell. Then carnage ensued. The first delivery of the over was sent to boundary, it was also adjudged as a no ball by the third over. Then Rinku Singh came to the strike. The left-hander sensation was in a destructive mood, hitting three sixes from the over. Janat ended up costing 36 runs for his side. India passed through the 200 run barrier and ended up with a massive total of 212 runs from 20 overs. In a close thriller like this one, this over was a pivotal event that changed the course of the whole contest.
The match was tied initially, as both teams managed to score 212 from 20 overs. Then they were in a deadlock by scoring 16 again in the super over. Finally India won by 10 runs in the second super over thanks to a wonderful bowling display from Ravi Bishnoi.
Player of the Match
Rohit Sharma suffered a nightmarish start to the series after getting back to international arena as he failed to score in both of the first two games. The Indian captain was back to his mojo in this game though, smashing 121 runs from 69 balls by hitting 8 sixes. The right-hander also hit 4 boundaries during two powerplay overs. He was selected as the man of the match of this thrilling contest.
Player of the Series
Shivam Dube won the best player in the series award for his all-round brilliance. The 30 year old has scored 124 runs including two fifties and claimed two wickets in this three match series.
|India Total: 212/4 (20 overs)
|Afghanistan Total: 212/6 (20 overs)
|Rohit Sharma 121* (69)
|Gulbadin Naib 55* (23)
|Rinku Singh 69 (39)
|Rahmanullah Gurbaz 50 (32)
|Fareed Ahmed 4/20 (4 overs)
|Washington Sundar 3/18 (3 overs)
|Azmatullah Omarzai 1/33 (4 overs)
|Kuldeep Yadav 1/31 (3 overs)
It was a game that would live long in the memory of cricket lovers. Afghanistan is an exciting outfit to watch, this team has all the ingredients to reach a world class level. India has had a lot of positives to take away from this series with youngsters shining at different parts of the series. It was the last chance for experiments before the 2024 T20 World Cup starting in June of this year. Team India now turns their attention to the red ball game as England is coming to the sub-continent soil. The two cricketing giants is going to meet on January 25 for the first Test at Rajiv Gandhi National Stadium in Hyderabad. Afghanistan will travel to Sri Lanka next with the only test scheduled to start on 2 February.