After Afghanistan pulled off a thrilling tie in the Super Four match in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018 tournament, Indian batsman KL Rahul said that the game will remain etched in the memories for a long time.
Defending 252, Afghanistan managed to dismiss the opposition for the same amount of runs on Tuesday at the Dubai International Stadium.
Needing seven off the final over, India had the match almost in the bag when Ravindra Jadeja (25 off 34) hit a four on the second ball. A couple of singles followed with India needing a run off two balls for a win. Jadeja, however, ended up scooping the ball for a regulation catch at midwicket, cutting short India’s joy and sending Afghanistan players into ecstasy.
The result was also a huge morale booster for Afghanistan, who could have easily been in the final if not for the last over losses against Pakistan and Bangladesh earlier in Super Four stage.
“We have seen how much they (Afghanistan) have improved in the last two years. We have seen likes of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rehman and Mohammed Nadi all playing in the IPL and playing around the world in different franchises. Overall, we now can’t look at Afghanistan and think they are walkovers. They are a very competitive T20 and ODI side. They keep proving it over and over again,” Rahul said in the post-match press conference.
“It was very exciting to see the way they played today. You want to be part of such where both teams compete till the end. If the result had gone in our favour, we would’ve been happier. But nonetheless, still happy to have played a game like this. It will stay in our memories for a long time,” he added.
Earlier, Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan also 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.
MS Dhoni, who led the side in Tuesday’s game, also heaped praise on Afghanistan for making massive strides in the game. “I think their cricket has gone up a lot,” said Dhoni. “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.”