Afghanistan reach 252/8 in 50 overs
1.25 am: Two captains share the match-winner’s cheque. A dead rubber? Turned out to be the most exciting match of the tournament!
Player of the match is Mohammad Shahzad, of course.
A cheeky comment from Dhoni in the post-match chat as he alludes to the umpiring decisions... but full of praise for Afghanistan’s rise as an ODI side as well. Spoke about how they controlled the proceedings with the spinners.
1.19 am: Here’s the big question, was that a six or not?
1:15 am: WHAT. A. MATCH! One to remember for a long, long time. Here’s the summary...
SCENES IN DUBAI! AFGHANISTAN CELEBRATE LIKE THEY HAVE WON... and why not!
Afghanistan: 252/8 India: 252 all out
OUT! IT’S A TIED MATCH! Jadeja is out — finds the fielder in the deep. WHAT A MATCH!
49.4: SINGLE! Khaleel takes the single! He would have been run out if it was a direct hit or even a better throw. SCORES ARE LEVEL!
49.2: Is that a SIX!?? Jadeja slog sweeps Rashid Khan and has it hit the advertisement pads on the full?! Given a four! Massive call. India need 3 to win off 4.
AN EVENTFUL 49th OVER! India need 7 off 6 balls
48.1: RUN OUT! Another run out, another case of bat getting stuck in the turf. Kuldeep plays a good shot, was pushed to come back for the third. But he couldn’t make it. Great bit of fielding. India need 11 off 11, 2 wickets in hand. Jadeja on strike.
48.2: Jadeja pulls one to deep fine leg, takes a couple.
48.3: CLOSE! Slow bouncer, Jadeja top edges a pull which falls short of Rashid at midwicket, and he could have ran Kaul out at the non-striker end as well. But missed the direct hit.
48.4: Jadeja gets a single. 8 needed off 8.
48.5: RUN OUT? Kaul hesitates, takes off for a single. There is a direct hit. Yes, he is run out!
48.6: SINGLE OFF THE LAST BALL! Jadeja vs Rashid to decide the match now.
India 240/7 after 48, need 13 runs from 12 balls
Rashid starts the over with a brilliant googly that beats Jadeja. He wanted a two off the next ball but Kuldeep wasn’t ready. A big LBW appeal off the third ball, but that was perhaps turning too much. Kuldeep gets off strike with a sweep off the fourth ball. Jadeja defends the fifth and gets a couple off the last ball.
Rashid comes on, could well decide the match here and now.
India 236/7 after 47, need 17 runs from 18 balls
Kuldeep starts the over with a couple, after flicking one to square leg. Samiullah (sub fielder) is hit on the face by the throw and he has a swollen eye socket, leaves the field. Kuldeep takes a quick single off the next ball. Third ball is a dot. Jadeja takes a single off the fourth. Leg bye off the fifth. Jadeja has the strike off the last ball and he takes the single to keep strike.
India 230/7, need 23 runs from 24 balls
Nabi finishes his spell with a 4-run over, getting 2/49.
India 226/7 after 45 overs - need 27 runs off 30 balls
Beauty! Forget targetting Aftab, he provides a breakthrough for his team. And this game continues to go one way and then the other. Deepak Chahar is bowled by a full-length delivery by Aftab (Did that swing away late? Looked so!) and India lose their 7th wicket. Celebrations for Afghanistan... can they finish on the right side of a thriller?
India 216/6 after 43 overs - need 30 runs off 36 balls
FOUR! Chahar releases the pressure with a cut through point as Mujeeb finishes with 0/43 in his 10 overs. Good shot under pressure by the debutant.
Aftab will bowl the 45th, will India target him?
India 216/6 after 43 overs - need 37 runs off 42 balls
Another good over by Rashid as the dot balls build for Jadeja. Last 4 overs, 11 runs and a wicket.
India 213/6 after 42 overs - need 40 runs off 48 balls
41st over: Just three runs from Aftab’s over. India missed a trick by not going after him?
42nd over: Couple of loud LBW appeals by Mujeeb against Jadeja, both given not out and perhaps rightly so. But Jadeja looked clueless against Mujeeb in that over.
5 overs remaining for the spin trio... Rashid Khan comes on to bowl one of those.
India 207/6 after 40 overs - DK out!
This is the big one for Afghanistan! A well-set Dinesh Karthik is given out LBW — he is not happy with the decision either. But Nabi and Afghanistan celebrate! DK had his reasons to be upset. That was missing leg stump by a fair distance. DK was rightfully upset. Just like Dhoni earlier. Two poor decisions & India couldn’t review both as Rahul had used up the review.
India need 46 to win off 10
India 205/5 after 39 overs - Kedar Jadhav out!
Well, well. We do have a tight game on our hands! Kedar Jadhav is run out as his bat gets stuck on the turf, while Mujeeb gets a touch on to the stumps as DK played a straight drive. Unfortunate for Kedar.
Pressure on India here...
India 202/4 after 38 overs - need 51 off 72 balls
Nabi comes back into the attack and concedes just two runs. Watchfully played out by Jadhav.
Change of ends for Mujeeb as Rashid gets a break.
India 200/4 after 37 overs
Kedar Jadhav gets away with a very close call... the ball was very close to the outside edge, and the bat was hitting the pad at the same time. Not enough evidence to overrule the decision. Afghanistan lose their review. Off the next ball, 200 comes up for India with a deliberate late cut by Jadhav for four.
This is now an excellent contest between a pumped-up Rashid Khan and the Indian batsmen though. India need 53 from 78 balls. Rashid not too happy with the not-out decision it’d seem.
India 196/4 after 36 overs - 57 needed off 84 balls
Afghanistan are letting the game drift here with their best bowlers bowling in tandem. A four for DK in the 35th over (a late cut / outside edge depending on your allegiances) and singles and a double in Mujeeb’s over mean 12 come in the last two overs.
India 184/4 after 34 overs - 69 needed off 96 balls
Four runs conceded by Mujeeb. Tight bowling this by Afghanistan but should they be looking to attack a bit more with their best bowlers? There was no slip in that over. Missing a trick?
India 180/4 after 33 overs - 73 needed off 102 balls
Good over by Rashid Khan. Just 3 in that over, including a wide.
DK might hold the key to this run-chase for India.
India 177/4 after 32 overs - 76 needed off 108 balls
With 14 overs remaining for the 3 main spinners, Afghanistan will fancy their chances at the moment. Rashid Khan comes back into the attack... India need 76 off 108 balls.
India 172/4 after 31 overs - 81 needed off 114 balls : Pandey gone!
An opportunity missed for Manish Pandey! He plays a loose shot, gets an outside edge to Shahzad. Aftab strikes. It was a good over too, as he almost got Jadhav with a first-ball yorker. Jadhav’s outside edge gets him a boundary.
India 164/3 after 30 overs - 89 needed off 120 balls
The main bowlers are back for Afghanistan, just as you’d have thought.
29th over: Good over by Aftab, just two runs from it as he gets the full length going.
30th over: A fantastic over by Nabi as he troubles Manish Pandey with one that turns sharply and one that doesn’t turn at all. Superb bowling and this should encourage Afghanistan.
India 158/3 after 28 overs - 95 needed off 132 balls
27th over: 150 up for India as DK sweeps one powerfully for 4. The slowest fifty of India’s innings as they have lost a few quick wickets.
28th over: Another boundary for DK in that over as Ahmadi gifts a full toss. As Russell Arnold says on air, rightly, the part-timers experiment must end now when there is a chance for Afghanistan to build pressure on India.
India 142/3 after 26 overs - DHONI GONE!
Ahmadi has the big wicket! Dhoni shakes his head as he walks away after being given out LBW. And rightly so, as replays show the ball was missing leg stump. India didn’t have a review left after KL Rahul used it up.
Dhoni dismissed for a 17-ball 8. Didn’t look like a happy man there, even if he is difficult to read most times.
India 140/2 after 25 overs
24th over: Ahmadi into the attack and concedes 5 singles. Almost had Dhoni caught and bowled, as he scooped one back but DK was in the bowler’s way (legally enough).
25th over: Rahmat Shah, with is leg spin, into the attack now. Just a single in that over as DK plays four dot balls. Just a hint of pressure building.
India 134/2 after 23 overs
22nd over: Couple of big LBW appeals against Dhoni off Nabi. One of them missing leg stump, one of them umpire’s call on impact.
23rd over: Short balls from Rashid but not costly because of his pace. Finishes the over with a peach to DK, spinning away and beating his bat.
On the contrary to this stat, Dhoni shuld bat earlier becuase of the dot ball %. Cannot afford to have him struggle later on.
India 128/2 after 21 overs - Rashid Khan strikes!
One ball after surviving a close stumping call, Rahul attempts a reverse sweep off Rashid Khan (not the best of ideas) and is given out LBW. Takes the review but it’s all 3 reds on the tracker.
Next batsman (as the noise from the crowd would have told you) is ‘Captain’ MS Dhoni... once again batting at No. 4.
India 127/1 after 20 overs
19th over: DK plays five dot balls in Rashid Khan’s over but finishes it off with a four off the last ball. Short from Rashid, pulled away handsomely.
20th over: KL Rahul starts the over with a lovely reverse paddle off Nabi as Kumble makes the point on air that his capabilities against spin should make him a good candidate for the middle order as well. Rahul survives just about off the last ball in that over, as he completely misses the flight of the ball while dancing down the track and the inside edge just about misses the stumps.
Rashid Khan continues...
India 114/1 after 18 overs - FIFTY FOR KL RAHUL!
FIFTY! Comes back into the side and scores an elegant half century. Solid innings by KL Rahul. Making the most of his opportunities is all he can do at the moment.
Dinesh Karthik, as we had thought earlier, is the No 3 batsman.
DRINKS: India 110/1 - Nabi strikes!
Rayudu’s brisk innings comes to an end, he falls for a 49-ball 57. Goes for another big shot, but gets more height than distance. Najibullah takes a good high catch. Nabi with the breakthrough. Can Afghanistan mount a comeback here?
India 110/0 after 17 overs
Rashid Khan is into the attack and Rayudu welcomes him with a sweep over the vacant deep midwicket region. Swept with precision, picked up a googly early. Rahul, meanwhile is on, 49.
India 103/0 after 16 overs - FIFTY FOR RAYUDU!
A quick-fire half century for Rayudu. Four sixes, three fours and he gets there is 45 balls. The fourth six came in the 15th over, picks up a slower ball and muscles it over the square leg fence, into the stands.
Has Ambati Rayudu done enough to retain his place in the squad for the foreseeable future?
100 partnership up for this new opening pair as well. India showing off their bench strength here.
India 80/0 after 13 overs
Nabi comes into the attack and bowls a tight over, just goes for 3. Naib’s over goes for four runs but it’s a little too easy for India at the moment. This has been a brilliant opening partnership. Afghanistan need a few wickets and need them quickly.
KL Rahul: 36*
India 73/0 after 11 overs
SIX! Shot of the match, surely?! Brilliant use of the feet by Rayudu once again and he hits a straight six off Gulbadin Naib. Superb hitting! Take a look at that follow through...
End of the first powerplay: India 64/0 after 10 overs
Another match, another solid opening partnership for India. Another SIX in that over! This time it’s KL Rahul. Takes on Mujeeb and how... all class, all timing. Lofts it over extra cover for six. Superb shot!
India 55/0 after 9 overs
8th over: Mujeeb continues to keep things tight from one end,
9th over: FOURS AND A SIX! KL Rahul gets a couple of freebies from Gulbadin, one on his pads and one full toss outside off stump. He sends both to the fence. Solid timing. And second six of the innings for Rayudu to finish that over! Dances down the ground and sends one over long on fence. Poor over from Naib.
India 37/0 after 7 overs
Rayudu making the most of his chance. Two boundaries in that over, one mishit through midwicket and the next slapped over point uppishly.
Good news is that Rashid Khan is in the field now.
India 28/0 after 6 overs
Oh dear! Missed opportunity for Afghanistan. They don’t follow up Mujeeb’s appeal for LBW with a review and Rayudu would have been gone had they opted for DRS. Rayudu rubs salt into their wounds with a lofted off drive for four that just about evades mid off. Not the best of shots, but gets four nonetheless.
India 22/0 after 5 overs
Good over from Aftab, half an appeal for a caught behind against KL Rahul and a direct hit that calls for a third umpire. Sunny Gavaskar wasn’t happy with that.
India 20/0 after 4 overs
A maiden over by Mujeeb to KL Rahul. Great line and length by the youngster and there’s a good contest brewing between the KXIP teammates.
India 19/0 after 3 overs
SIX! First of the Indian innings and it comes in the 3rd over. Rayudu dances down the track and slaps one over cover point for six off Aftab. Rayudu, remember, was very successful opening the batting for CSK in the IPL.
At the other end, Mujeeb to his KXIP teammate Rahul...
India 12/0 after 2 overs
Mujeeb shares the new ball as expected. Just two runs from the youngster’s first over.
Meanwhile, DK is padded up in the pavilion. Will we see him at No 3?
India 10/0 after 1 over
Couple of boundaries in the opening over for India. KL Rahul hits a lovely square off the first ball, and glances one towards fine leg off the last ball — that one given leg byes.
Meanwhile, not great news for Afghanistan. Rashid Khan, who was limping towards the end of the first innings, has not taken the field.
Innings break: Afghanistan in the huddle and I couldn’t spot Rashid Khan there. Awaiting further updates on his situation...
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on KL Rahul when he comes out to bat. Can he make a statement tonight?
Much like how Afghanistan have lit up what has been a ‘dead’ tournament for the most part, Mohammad Shahzad lit up a dead rubber tonight. Can they produce another good bowling effort?
End of the innings: Afghanistan 252/8 after 50 overs
A good end by Khaleel as he concedes just for runs in that over. Worryingly for Afghanistan, Rashid has an injury and he limps off.
Hero of that innings: Mohammad Shahzad, of course!
Joins us soon for the run-chase. This could be a test for India’s much-changed lineup.
After 49 overs, Afghanistan 248/8
Kaul’s best over of the match so far, a series of yorkers restricts AFG to just three runs in that over.
Rashid, meanwhile, got treatment for what looked like an hamstring issue. Keep an eye on his fitness.
After 48 overs, Afghanistan 245/8 - WICKET!
Khaleel Ahmed gets the crucial wicket of Mohammad Nabi with a slower ball. Collision between DK and Kuldeep while going for the catch but both seem to be alright. Kuldeep eventually took the catch. Just two runs from that Khaleel over, good stuff from the youngster. Mixing up the slower balls and yorkers.
After 47 overs, Afghanistan 243/7
SIX!!! What a hit by Nabi! Full from Kaul, Nabi sends it soaring into the stands... That went 99 meters! 12 runs from that over. Nabi moves on to 64.
After 46 overs, Afghanistan 231/7
End of another good ODI spell for Kuldeep Yadav. 10 overs, 2/38. Just the one big over that went for 17.
After 45 overs, Afghanistan 228/7 - WICKET!
Jadeja gets his third wicket and Zadran is given out LBW when attempting a reverse sweep. Batsman reviews, but it’s plumb. Afghanistan lose the review as well. Just two runs from Jadeja over as India have pulled things back after that big Kuldeep Yadav over.
Breakdown of Nabi’s innings: (Screengrab: Hotstar)
After 44 overs, Afghanistan 226/6
43rd over: Another over, another boundary. Nabi cuts Jadeja past point for four.
44th over: FIFTY! Well played, Nabi! What an innings by Afghanistan’s star all-rounder. 12th ODI fifty for him. Gets there with a well-run double in Kuldeep’s over.
After 42 overs, Afghanistan 213/6
41st over: 7 runs from Khaleel’s over, a lovely cover drive by Nabi there.
42nd over: BIG OVER! Nabi smahses a big six over midwicket (his reaction sums it up) and Zadran finishes the over with a sweep. Kuldeep taken to the cleaners there. That six by Nabi was timed so beautifully!
Kuldeep’s first 7 overs: 13 runs
Kuldeep’s 8th over: 17 runs
After 40 overs, Afghanistan 189/6
Khaleel with a misfield to spoil Kuldeep’s wonderful over. Just five from it despite that misfield going for four.
Time for the death overs... where Afghanistan have scored at 8.2 RPO so far while batting first in this Asia Cup. Can they finish this innings strongly? Nabi and Najibullah in the middle at the moment.
Afghanistan 184/6 after 39 overs
Khaleel comes back and concedes four runs.
Plenty of praise for Shahzad meanwhile...
Afghanistan 180/6 after 38 overs
OUT! End of a fabulous innings as Shahzad falls on 124 off 116 balls. Went for one big shot too many, as Kedar Jadhav provides the breakthrough, firing one wide when Shahzad stepped down the track. Skier taken well by DK.
A deserving standing ovation for the Afghan opener. What an entertainer. (Sir Viv Richards’ record stays on...)
Afghanistan 178/5 after 37 overs
SIX! And it’s Nabi again! Full from Kaul and Nabi with a clean swing down the ground... SUPERB STRIKING! Hours of facing each other in the Sunrisers nets sessions helping Nabi there perhaps. Kaul’s struggles continue...
(On a side note, Viv Richards’ record might not be broken anymore...)
Afghanistan 169/5 after 36 overs
Shahzad takes on Kedar Jadhav, hits one over the extra cover for a boundary. His highest ODI score is 131, he’s batting on 121 now.
Afghanistan 163/5 after 35 overs
SIX! And no it’s Mohammad Shahzad... it’s Nabi! Brilliant shot by the experienced all-rounder. It’s a flat hit over midwicket as Kaul drops one short. 250-plus on the cards? Kaul and Chahar continue to struggle, meanwhile.
DRINKS: Afghanistan 154/5 after 34 overs
If you thought he was going to berserk after his century, not quite. He is showing a lot of patience. A much-deserved break for Shahzad especially who’s batted sensibly even after his ton.
Reminder: He could break Viv Richards’ World Record (scoring the highest % of the side’s runs) too. Richards scored 69.48% of his team’s runs way back in 1984. Shahzad has scored nearly 75% of Afghanistan’s runs so far.
Afghanistan 144/5 after 31 overs
Shahzad, you beauty! Deepak Chahar might have got a wicket in his second spell but Shahzad is in no mood to spare him, smashing his own version of the helicopter shot over midwicket for six. All forearm, that shot! What a cricketer.
OUT! First ODI wicket for Deepak Chahar! The debutant comes back well after a tough start, dismisses Gulbadin who flicks one to deep square leg. Afghanistan 133/5 after 29 overs.
CENTURY! Take a bow, Mohammad Shahzad! What a moment for the Afghanistan opener. His 5th ODI century, and perhaps the best of his career.
Afghanistan 126/4 after 27 overs
Stop the press! An Afghanistan batsman not named Mohammad Shahzad has hit a boundary in this match! 7 runs from Kaul’s over.
Shahzad moves on to 98 with a quick single off the next over.
Afghanistan 117/4 after 25 overs
23rd over: Just two runs from Khaleel’s over as Shahzad slows down close to what would be the best ton of his ODI career.
24th over: Both batsmen not taking anymore chances against Kuldeep, just the one from his over.
Kuldeep Yadav’s figures so far:
25th over: Jadeja comes back to the attack and concedes three singles. Gulbadin needs to help Shahzad out here, batting on 7 off 30 balls.
World record watch:
Afghanistan 111/4 after 22 overs
21st over: Khaleel comes back into the attack and is welcomed by a slog over midwicket that travels 88m. Sixth six of Shahzad’s innings! Moves on 93... what a knock! And he also survives getting dismissed in that over. He’s given out caught behind but the Afghan opener reviews immediately. It’s not out! The entertainment will continue for a while....
22nd over: Kuldeep continues and Shahzad respects him, not taking him on at all. Takes a single off the first ball, and Gulbadin plays out the rest of the over.
Afghanistan 100/4 after 19 overs
No stopping Shahzad for now!
18.1: FOUR, scoops Jadeja over short fine leg.
18.2: SIX, slog sweeps Jadeja over midwicket
100 up for Afghanistan in the 19th over and Shahzad has scored 86 of those runs!
After 18 overs in this match:
Afghanistan’s total: 89 runs
Shahzad’s contribution: 75 runs
Looks like he will continue to go for the shots but his timing is missing now. Is he tiring? Quite possibly. Another wicket might be around the corner for India as Jadeja and Kuldeep bowl in tandem
Afghanistan 82/4 after 16 overs
Hat-trick doesn’t happen, but what an over by Kuldeep. Afghanistan in more than a spot of bother. What will Shahzad’s approach be now? He has scored 70 of Afghanistan’s 82!
15.3: OUT! Kuldeep Yadav is on a hat-trick! Can he do it for the 2nd time in ODIs? Asghar Afghan is bowled by another peach of a delivery.
DRINKS: Afghanistan 82/3 after 15.2 overs - Kuldeep strikes!
What a ball by Kuldeep! The in-form Afghanistan batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi is gone for a duck, beaten by Kuldeep’s spin. Dhoni whips the bails off in a flash.
Afghanistan 81/2 after 15 overs - Jadeja strikes again!
While Shahzad continues on his merry at one end, Jadeja gets his second wicket in quick succession; Rahmat Shah is bowled by the arm ball.
Shahzad, earlier, hit his fourth six of the innings — a slog sweep down the ground off Jadhav that went a long way. And then hit a boundary off Jadeja in the next over as well. He has moved to 69 off 55 balls.
Afghanistan 67/1 after 13 overs
Jadeja strikes! Ahmadi’s struggles at the middle come to an end after a 30-ball 5. A poor innings from the other Afghanistan opener. Dhoni effects the stumping. Ahmadi danced down the track and the ball got stuck under his feet, trickles to Dhoni and he takes the bails off in a flash.
Afghanistan 65/0 after 12 overs
11th over: One run conceded by Kuldeep Yadav.
12th over: One run conceded by Kedar Jadhav.
Some calm after the Shahzad storm in the powerplay.
Afghanistan 63/0 after 10 overs - FIFTY FOR SHAHZAD!
8th over: A maiden over by Jadeja to start his spell, got some turn in that over as well, making one spin past Ahmadi’s bat after pitching on line.
9th over: Back-to-back boundaries! Shahzad is taking on Siddharth Kaul... pulls one through midwicket, then lofts one over cover. 50 up for Afghanistan, then followed by the 50 for Shahzad. 14th ODI fifty, comes up after a dropped catch by Ambati Rayudu at mid-off. This has been a whirlwind innings so far!
10th over: A brilliant end to the powerplay as Shahzad smacks one over wide long off Jadeja for his third six.
Afghanistan 48/0 after 7 overs
SIX! Khaleel Ahmed bowls a full length ball, Shahzad smacks it over long on for his second six. He’s in the mood today! Has moved on to 41 off 32 balls.
Afghanistan 40/0 after 6 overs
Shahzad has raced to 33 off 26 balls as Siddharth Kaul comes into the attack. Another boundary for the Afghan opener in that over.
Afghanistan 35/0 after 5 overs
Khaleel follows up that Chahar over with a maiden. The left-arm pacers continues to impress.
Afghanistan 35/0 after 4 overs
3.4: Beamer, NO BALL.
3.4: SIX over long on
3.5: Dot ball
3.6: FOUR, pulled over square leg.
Not an over to remember for Chahar but it’s good to see Bhuvi have a chat with the debutant at the boundary line.
4th over: Oh dear! Chahar with a dangerous beamer at Shahzad, called a no ball. Next ball is a slower bouncer, called a wide. Followed by another! Free hit still remains & Shahzad smashes a SIX! 9 runs from one legal delivery.
Afghanistan 18/0 after 3 overs
Another big shot from Shahzad! Starts Khaleel’s over with a lofted shot over mid-on. He’s out to impress today, for sure. Ahmadi finally gets on strike in that over.
Afghanistan 13/0 after 2 overs
Deepak Chahar bowls his first over in ODIs & Shahzad takes him on straight away. A lofted shot through point for four, followed by a flick through midwicket for three. He’s faced all 12 balls so far and will take strike in the third over as well.
Afghanistan 6/0 after 1 over
Khaleel Ahmed starts proceedings for India. Six runs from the first over with Shahzad getting a boundary down to third man, with a streaky edge. Good over by Khaleel as he hurried Shahzad on a few occasions.
5.00 pm: National Anthems done... Team huddle completed. Play!
Khaleel Ahmed to open the bowling. Shahzad on strike.
TEAMS: Plenty of new faces on show for India, two changes for Afghanistan too.
INDIA: MS Dhoni (C) (W), Lokesh Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddarth Kaul
AFGHANISTAN: Mohammad Shahzad (W), Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan (C), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
4.35PM: Afghanistan win the toss and they will bat first. Plenty of changes for India... Rohit, Dhawan, Bumrah, Bhuvi and Chahal are rested.
4.33 pm: BIG NEWS - MS DHONI WILL LEAD INDIA FOR THE 200th TIME IN ODIS!
4.27 pm: A big moment for Deepak Chahar who is all set to make his ODI debut today as he receives his cap. He made his T20I debut against England in July.
4.16 pm: While Rohit and Shikhar have been in top form... the bowlers have been on fire as well.
Yuzvendra Chahal has attributed India’s consistent show with the ball across formats to a skillful pool of bowlers and confidence shown by the team management.
“Our bowling pool has swelled to 10-15 and earlier it wasn’t so. Now one who is replacing you is also as skillful,” Chahal told reporters after India notched up a comfortable nine-wicket win over Pakistan in the Asia Cup.
“Even in England, the way our bowlers have dominated, it shows the regular flow of spinners and medium pacers in the team. Also the confidence showed by the management, that is important for a youngster. There is no negativity, you can concentrate on your bowling.”
4.05 pm: This is the first time the two sides have met in an ODI since Asia Cup 2014. A lot has changed for Afghanistan since then, who have easily been the most entertaining side in the tournament so far. It is unfortunate, from a cricket lover’s point of view, that Afghanistan have been eliminated already.
The Indian cricket team will hope that its untested middle-order gets some game time ahead of the grand finale when it takes on an ever-improving Afghanistan in the final ‘Super Four’ encounter of the Asia Cup on Tuesday.
India have been on a roll after an unimpressive start against Hong Kong, with couple of one-sided victories over arch-rivals Pakistan and an equally facile one against Bangladesh.
With a spot in Friday’s final sealed, skipper Rohit Sharma may want some of his untested middle-order batsmen to get quality time in the middle against someone of Rashid Khan’s calibre.
Often in cricket, the ‘Law of Averages’ catches up with the best performing teams at a critical juncture.
Shikhar Dhawan (327) and skipper Rohit (269) have done the bulk of the scoring in the four matches so far with very little contribution being required from the other batsmen in the line-up.
The next highest scorer is Ambati Rayudu (116 runs) because he comes in at No 3. The problem has been lack of batting time for the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Dinesh Karthik so far.