Last night spectators witnessed presumably the most happening match of World Cup 2019. With 16 runs to chase in 6 balls, it did not seem entirely impossible for Afghanistan to take the victory against India – the first one for the former in the tournament.
However, Muhammad Shami spelled his medium paced magic in the last over, and with a spectacular display of bowling took a hat-trick along with Afghanistan’s hope to win.
As it began, the match seemed an easy one for India, who hasn’t lost a single match in the World Cup this year; contrary to their opponents drastically different spree of five consecutive defeats. It was one sided, many had felt.
Albeit the massive pressure on the Afghan side, it was interesting to see the side restrict India’s total to 224. Quite unlikely for the team with massive totals in the tournament previously.
This became possible on the back of not remarkable but consistent bowling from Afghanistan. Nabi shone bright as he sent the star cricketer Virat Kohli to the pavilion alongside attaining K.L Rahul’s wicket.
As the second innings began, the total seemed too out of Afghanistan’s reach to chase. However, Nabi once again casted spell with his bat. The batsman drove the team towards the end of tunnel, and with only 16 runs to win on 6 balls, it did not seem a far fetched dream to stand triumph.
As the third ball of the last over, Shami threw a yoker which Nabi attempted to hit across for a six. However, luck fell short and despite the elevation of the shot, the ball fell in Hardik Pandya’s hands for miscalculated distance. Nabi returned to pavilion with 52, and soon followed Shami’s hat-trick to finish the Afghan quest.
Despite Afghanistan’s defeat by 11 runs, the team showed its capability and amidst the raising questions, proved its spot amongst the 10 contenders of World Cup.