India were through to the final, Afghanistan were out of the tournament. This match was the deadest of dead rubbers but trust Afghanistan to make a game out of even that. India were chasing 253 and were cruising at 110/0 in the 18th over of the match. And yet, come the 50th over, they had just one wicket in hand, made 246 runs, and needed seven more to win. In between these two overs, Afghanistan stifled India with what has to be the best fielding effort that the latter have faced in this tournament and dogged consistency from their bowlers. India were bowled out for 252 and just for the eighth time, an ODI involving them ended in a tie.
KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu opened the innings in place of the rested Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. They took India off to a flier, taking their time to settle and going for the big shots after the 10th over. Rayudu scored 57 off 49 balls before being dismissed. Shortly thereafter, Rahul also reached his fifty, just his second in ODI cricket. After his dismissal, though, India got virtually no partnerships from the middle order. MS Dhoni, who stood in as captain in place of Rohit, and Manish Pandey were both dismissed for eight runs. Dhoni was given LBW, although replays showed that the umpire may have made a mistake. India had no reviews left at that point and he had to walk.
Kedar Jadhav and Dinesh Karthik seemed to have stabilised the innings but the former was dismissed when Mujeeb-ur-Rahman managed to get a hand to a straight drive from Karthik which went on to hit the stumps. Jadhav was well outside his crease. The scales truly tipped in Afghanistan’s favour when Karthik was dismissed soon after and Ravindra Jadeja and Deepak Chahar were left in the middle.
The two of them took India closer before Chahar was dismissed for 12. Kuldeep Yadav and Siddarth Kaul were run out in the 49th over and it left Jadeja and Khaleel Ahmed to chase down the last seven runs. Jadeja seemingly hit a six off the second ball of the final over but the umpire ruled that the ball didn’t fall directly on the boundary line. With one run needed off the last ball, Jadeja ended up holing out in the deep where there was just one fielder placed.
This was Dhoni’s 200th ODI as captain and, incidentally, his first match as captain was also a tied match.
Afghanistan’s innings was powered by an incredible batting effort from opener Mohammad Shahzad who scored his fifth ODI century. He made 124 runs off 116 balls and Mohammad Nabi took up the mantle of run-getter-in-chief after his dismissal. Shahzad was declared man of the match and admitted that he was not by the fact that the match ended in a tie after six hours of hard work.