Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan said that his team considers the tied match against India a victory. “When you tie with a team like India, it’s like winning. They usually chase easily. It is good for the fans as well,” he said in the post-match presentation ceremony. Defending a target of 252, Afghanistan managed to dismiss the opposition for the same amount of runs, despite India being 110/0 in the 18th over.
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Afghanistan’s total was powered by a century by opener Mohammad Shahzad, who scored 124 runs off 116 balls. “On this type of track, Shahzad played very positive cricket. What we saw today was the real Shahzad, unfortunately it came in the last match,” said Asghar. The match was a dead rubber, though, with Afghanistan’s departure from the Asia Cup confirmed after their loss to Bangladesh in the previous match. But MS Dhoni, who stood in as captain for India for the rested Rohit Sharma, noted that their performance was commendable. “I think their cricket has gone up a lot,” said Dhoni, who was standing in his 200th ODI as captain. “If you see how they’ve continued playing right from the start of the Cup, it’s been commendable. They’re the one country that has risen through the ranks. Good batting by them – how they fielded, how they bowled was impressive.”
However, Dhoni did note that India had started the innings on the handicap. “I wouldn’t say we went wrong. It was like a game of golf because we started with a handicap, we rested our main players. It was very important for the fast bowlers to fall back to the back of a length area when there was no swing full. We lost 5-6 overs there. Shot selection is also something we could have done better at as well,” he said before indicating that India were hard done by some of the decisions taken by the umpires. “there were a couple of run-out and there are a couple of things I don’t want to talk about because I don’t want to get fined. A tie isn’t bad for us, we could have been on the losing side,” said Dhoni.