In a thrilling encounter in Bengaluru, India secured a victory against Afghanistan in the third and final T20I, concluding their T20I fixtures before the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024. The match, which ended with India winning by a super over and 10 runs, was not without controversy.
India, batting first, set a formidable target of 214 runs, with skipper Rohit Sharma leading the charge with a scintillating 121 runs off just 69 balls. Rinku Singh‘s brisk 69 off 39 balls further bolstered India’s total.
Afghanistan displayed resilience in their pursuit, with Gulbadin Naib’s remarkable 55 runs off 23 balls leveling the scores and forcing the game into a thrilling super over.
In the decisive super over, Afghanistan managed to score 16 runs. However, controversy arose when Indian bowler Mukesh delivered a yorker outside off, causing the ball to deflect off Mohammed Nabi’s pads, resulting in a byes call. Indian captain Rohit Sharma expressed dissatisfaction with the decision, contesting the attempt to take extra runs.
The controversy intensified when Rohit Sharma retired out before the final ball of India’s super over, allowing Rinku Singh, known for his speed, to come in. The match officials have yet to confirm whether Rohit was deemed ‘retired out’ or ‘retired hurt’, sparking debates over fair play.
Rahul Dravid said
Indian coach Rahul Dravid commented on the situation, likening Rohit Sharma’s decision to retire out to “Ashwin-level thinking,” referencing a similar incident involving Ravichandran Ashwin in the IPL. Dravid said, “Taking himself out was Ashwin-level thinking. That’s Ash-level thinking.”
Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott expressed uncertainty about the rules, highlighting the unprecedented nature of the match. Trott said, “I have no idea…Has there ever been two Super Overs? That’s what I am trying to say. It’s sort of like a new… we keep setting these new sort of rules. What I am trying to say is we kept testing the rules, we kept testing the guidelines.”
Rohit Sharma praised Rinku Singh’s performance, emphasizing his fearlessness and ability to finish games with a clear mindset. Singh’s contribution was crucial in India’s victory, showcasing his potential as a valuable asset to the team. Rohit Sharma said, “In the last couple of series that he played, he has shown what he can do with the bat. Very fearless, keeps himself very calm, very clear about his game plan as well and knows his strengths pretty well. He is coming off age and doing the job that’s expected out of him. Everytime he gets an opportunity, he creates an impression. Augurs well for the team moving forward, we wanted someone like that at the back end who can finish games like that with a very clear mindset.”
The match concluded with India winning their final series before the T20 World Cup with a 3-0 margin, setting the stage for an exciting tournament ahead.