Dead rubber? No no, I'm not going to end with a cliche like "Cricket is the real winner here" but this was insanity. When the day began, the biggest concern was the unpredictability of the Fantasy XI. At the end of the day, even the ardent fans who incurred losses would be satisfied with the result. They've certainly got their money's worth. A fantastic exhibition of cricket. And more importantly, a spellbinding exhibition for cricket. A chaotic comm-box, guilty of sound pollution and some extravagant expressions of joy, bids you goodbye for the day. Join us for the coverage tomorrow, same time, same place. For now, it's Rishi Roy, signing off on behalf of Shashikant Singh, Abhinand Raghavendran, Nikhil Jadhav and Raju Peethala as MS Dhoni walks back, with his captaincy career starting and (presumably) ending in ties. Afghanistan walk back too, defeated, but heads held high. *Curtains Down*
India's chase got off to a fantastic start, but the wicket of Rayudu brought a few more. The Afghanistan bowlers kept pecking away at the middle-order, taking every opportunity that came their way. They were lucky with a couple of dismissals, particularly those of Dhoni and Karthik, but given their fortunes in the last two games, they deserved some luck. "Cricket is a great leveller," MS Dhoni had said, during a promotional event of his biopic, circa September 2016 - and it is only fitting, that possibly his last game as captain of the side ends up in a tie. Despite the Gulf between India's first choice XI and benchstrength, perhaps this was a tight contest they needed before the final. A polite wake-up call. It's a game that these Afghan players will write home about. In fact they'll just take the flight home, like Shahzad mentioned, and this match will go down in the fables of Afghan cricket history.
Mohammad Shahzad, Man of the match: I'm not very happy, we have slogged for 6 hours at the ground without result, but I am happy with the performance of the team. We have a flight tomorrow, so I thought of playing my game freely. I am feeling proud, because I have played an innings like this against the best side in Asia. I haven't played well throughout the tournament, but I am happy that I played well in this one.
Asghar Afghan, Afghanistan captain: Today the wicket was a good one for us as it was a spinning track. Shahzad played really well and played very positive cricket. Their opening partnership was good and our spinners did an equally good job. When you tie a match with a side like India, it's just like a win. India have chased easily in the last two games but today we made it tough for them. Such tough games are good for the fans as well. Every time we have asked him, Shahzad has done the job for us. He played well in the last game too but today he was the real Shahzad. Again, I give him a lot of credit for his knock. Thank you very much.
MS Dhoni, India captain: Their (Afghanistan's) cricket has improved a lot. The way they have continued from the start of the Asia cup, it is commendable and we have enjoyed their cricket. It is one country that has risen through the ranks very well. They played really well. They batted extremely well too. The wicket slowed down later, but they bowled extremely well throughout the game and their fielding was tight too. I wouldn't say we went wrong in the chase. To start off, it was like a handicap in golf. We didn't go with a full-strength side. Not enough spinners on this wicket. The first over that a fast bowler bowls, they need to extract swing. We didn't hit the back of a length area, and we gave away too much initially with the ball. We got off to a very good start with the bat, but the wicket slowed down over the course of the game, so someone should have continued with the bat. Shot-selection is something that we need to work on. There were a couple of run-outs, and a few things we can't talk about (the incorrect LBW decisions) because I don't want to get fined for it. It's good that it's a tie, but they played really well. The Afghanistan guys played really well. 250 was a very good score on this wicket. We could have been on the losing side because of quite a few things that didn't go for us, so I'm happy with the result.
Spinners defending < 10 runs in the last over off a TIED ODI:6 K Arthurton v Aus, Georgetown, 19997 RASHID KHAN v Ind, Dubai DSC, 20189 A White v Zim, Kingston, 2007
Most ODIs TIED as captain:5 MS Dhoni3 R Richardson/ S Waugh/ S Pollock
Tied ODIs for India:vs WI, Perth, 1991vs Zim, Indore, 1993vs Zim, Paarl, 1997vs Eng, Bengaluru, 2011vs Eng, Lord's, 2011vs SL, Adelaide, 2012vs NZ, Auckland, 2014vs Afg, Dubai DSC, 2018
23:39 Local Time, 19:39 GMT, 01:09 IST: What a doozy! There's a tricolour-turbanned junior fan in the crowd who's in tears, but he can't fathom the beauty of what he has witnessed. One must feel for Afghanistan. Not exactly a hat-trick of heartbreaks for Afghanistan, but they'll be thrilled that they served up the most closely-fought contests in the Asia Cup. And to top it off with this masterpiece of a tie? They can walk away from this tournament a very proud nation. The Afghanistan legend continues. The magical journey sees another highlight in its timeline - a tied ODI against the second-best ODI side in the world. And, don't forget, this was a return to captaincy for MS Dhoni, his 200th ODI as captain, and he caps it off with the 5th tie of his captaincy career. To the presentations now, and I try to catch my breath.
Rashid Khan to Jadeja, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
It's a tie!
Oh, these are some mad moments. Khaleel on strike. One to tie, two to win for India. One wicket for Afghanistan to win.
A doozy of a nail-biter on our hands. India have one wicket in hand. Rashid to defend 7 off the last over. The key? Jadeja on strike. Dhawan comes in with replacement gloves for Jadeja. Rohit was there too, with some advice perhaps.
K Khaleel Ahmed, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Aftab Alam to S Kaul, THAT'S OUT!! Run Out!!
Conference meeting out at the center.
Siddarth Kaul, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Aftab Alam to Kuldeep Yadav, THAT'S OUT!! Run Out!!
Rashid Khan [8.0-0-31-1] is back into the attack
Mohammad Nabi [9.0-0-36-2] is back into the attack
Kuldeep Yadav, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Aftab Alam to Chahar, THAT'S OUT!! Bowled!!
Aftab Alam [7.0-0-38-1] is back into the attack
Rashid Khan [7.0-0-28-1] is back into the attack
Mujeeb Ur Rahman [8.0-1-33-0] is back into the attack
Powerplay #3 - Aftab Alam is back with his seamers.
Deepak Chahar, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Nabi to Karthik, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Ravindra Jadeja, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Mujeeb to Karthik, THAT'S OUT!! Run Out!!
Is there a run-out for Jadhav at the non-striker's end? Oh no! Mujeeb had a hand on that, and Jadhav, trying to drag his bat back, manages to get his bat stuck on the wicket.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman [7.0-1-30-0] is back into the attack
Getting a little too close for comfort for the Indians.
The umpire has the notebook out! Now now, they really shouldn't be overly involved in the banter.
Mohammad Nabi [7.0-0-32-1] is back into the attack
Dhawan brings in inner gloves for DK. He's the 12th man today. Meanwhile, Mujeeb is back with a slip in place.
Time for the players to have a drink.
Javed Ahmadi leaving the field (perhaps something to do with the hand injury)
Rashid Khan [4.0-0-15-1] is back into the attack
Star bowler with an iffy hamstring returns.
Javed Ahmadi [3.0-0-14-1] is back into the attack
Kedar Jadhav, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Aftab Alam to Manish Pandey, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Mohammad Nabi [6.0-0-28-1] is back into the attack
Aftab Alam [4.0-0-25-0] is back into the attack
Javed Ahmedi didn't see the ball coming (25.5), and was hit on the hand by an incoming throw at the non-striker's end.
Ball-tracking for the Dhoni dismissal: pitching outside off, impact in line, and missing leg-stump! Going over too!
Manish Pandey, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Javed Ahmadi to Dhoni, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Rahmat Shah comes in. For some part-time leg-break.
Javed Ahmadi, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
Here's India's MS
Rashid Khan to Rahul, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Dinesh Karthik, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Drinks called onto the field...
Nabi to Rayudu, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Here's Rashid. Reckon that's too late a move from Afghanistan? One slip waiting for the edge
The keeper is standing upto the stumps
Mohammad Nabi, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
False start. Bowl again, please
India's opening stands in Asia Cup 2018: 45, 86, 61, 210 & 61*
Gulbadin Naib, right-arm medium, comes into the attack
Rashid Khan's back on field. He had issues with his hammy while batting and didn't take field until the start of the previous over. And meanwhile, Dhawan's embraced the role of carrying drinks with great glee
Guess what? Rayudu was a goner had Afghanistan decided to review that (5.2) Three reds. Only Shahzad was confident, but he didn't get any assistance from his colleagues
DK is padded up, going to bat at 3? Might be
One slip for Mujeeb
Rahul and Rayudu are at the crease. Rahul is on strike. Aftab Alam will open the attack