Afghanistan featured in a nail-biting thriller of a match yet again in the Asia Cup, facing back to back defeats. After a neck-to-neck contest against Pakistan, Afghanistan was involved in a tenser competition against Bangladesh on September 23. Mustafizur Rahman defended seven runs in last over to show Afghanistan out of the Asia Cup contest. On the other hand, India induced another massive defeat onto Pakistan in order to secure a spot in the finals.
India has met Pakistan on two occasions during this ongoing series and has emerged victorious in both. Leaving behind the slightest of dependency on the head-to-head domination of Pakistan over India in ODIs, the latter has only moved forward towards the path of turning the tables. The count is Pakistan 73-53 India in 129 One-Day International matches that they have played against each other. With the recent set of results involving these two teams, the Men in Blue is set to change the record into their favor in a few years. But given to the fact that these two teams won’t play a bilateral series any soon, the record is safe with Pakistan. India defeated their nemesis by 8 wickets(with 21 overs remaining) and by 9 wickets(with 63 balls remaining) in their first and second encounters respectively.
Coming back to Afghanistan, the loophole in their much-celebrated rise in international Cricket has been more apparent of late. This Asia Cup has been witness to only a couple of nail-biting thrillers so far. Afghanistan has featured in both, one against Pakistan and the latest against Bangladesh, and ended up on the losing side on both occasions. They’ve failed to emerge victorious in nervous situations, both while defending(v Pakistan) and chasing(v Bangladesh). Despite their massive growth over a little period of time, there’s a lot more to master and especially through experience. We have seen how Shoaib Malik’s experienced overpowered Afghanistan’s short-lived dominance in the previous match on Friday to bag it away. On Sunday, it was Afghanistan chasing down a target of 250 against Bangladesh. The match went into the last over with Afghanistan having to score eight runs off it. After scoring a couple of runs off the first ball of the last over, bowled by Mustafizur Rahman, Rashid Khan got dismissed in next delivery. The next we know, four runs are required off the last ball of the match and all Mustafizur conceded was a dot ball. Afghanistan’s dreams and their run in the contest was shattered thus. Mushfiqur Rahim, who reached 5000 ODI runs earlier during the match, celebrated the win with his quirky signature dance.
Bangladesh 249 for 7 (Mahmudullah 74, Kayes 72*, Alam 3-54) beat Afghanistan 246 for 7 (Shahidi 71, Shahzad 53, Mustafizur 2-44) by three runs