IND v AFG: Bishnoi and Rohit’s brilliance seal epic thriller as India clinch series in historic double super over

India beat Afghanistan in a double super over to complete a 3-0 lead in the 5-match T20I series at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.

India beat Afghanistan in a double super over to complete a 3-0 lead in the 5-match T20I series at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.

With this victory against Afghanistan, Skipper Rohit Sharma now has the most T20I wins (42) as India’s captain in men’s cricket.

From the outset, the script seemed to favor India, who won the toss and opted to bat first. However, Afghanistan’s bowlers had other plans, wreaking havoc on the Indian top order and reducing them to a precarious 22/4 within the first powerplay. Just when the momentum seemed to slip away, Rohit Sharma and Rinku Singh emerged as the saviors, conjuring a magical partnership that defied the odds.

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Rohit Sharma’s masterclass took center stage as he crafted his fifth T20I century, a remarkable unbeaten 121 off 69 balls. Rinku Singh played the perfect supporting role, finishing unbeaten on 69* off 39 balls. The duo’s extraordinary 190-run partnership propelled India to a commanding total of 212/4 in 20 overs, with Afghanistan conceding 17 extras in the process.

Rohit’s blade danced with grace as he notched up his fifth T20I century, a feat that propelled him to the summit of centuries in the format, most by any batter in T20I, leaving behind the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Suryakumar Yadav. The innings, a masterpiece crafted with finesse, saw Rohit amass an unbeaten 121 off 69 balls, marking his highest T20I score and the fourth-highest individual score for India in T20Is.

In a stellar display of partnership, Rohit found an able ally in Rinku Singh, and together they orchestrated a monumental stand. The duo’s unbroken partnership of 190* runs not only became the highest for India in T20Is but also surpassed the 176-run milestone set by Deepak Hooda and Sanju Samson against Ireland in 2022.

The record-breaking spree continued as India amassed 58 runs in the last two overs of their innings, setting a new benchmark for the most runs scored by any team in the 19th and 20th overs in all men’s T20s. This phenomenal achievement eclipsed Nepal’s 55 runs against Mongolia in the previous year’s Asian Games.

The 20th over, bowled by Karim Janat, added another chapter to the record books as Rohit and Rinku plundered 36 runs. This remarkable feat equaled the record for the most runs conceded in an over in men’s T20Is, a distinction shared with the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Kieron Pollard.

As the innings reached its crescendo, India’s score surged to 103 runs in the last five overs, a rare accomplishment in men’s T20Is. Only one other team had achieved this feat before – Nepal against Mongolia in 2023.

Rohit’s leadership prowess shone through as three of his five T20I centuries were achieved while captaining India. This milestone saw him draw level with Babar Azam for the most T20I tons as captain, marking a testament to his batting prowess and captaincy acumen.

The tale took an unexpected twist with Rinku Singh’s heroics. Batting at No.6, he notched up an unbeaten 69*, the highest score by an Indian in that position in T20Is. His remarkable innings etched a new narrative, surpassing Axar Patel’s previous record against Sri Lanka in Pune in 2023.

The climax of this cricketing saga revealed Rohit’s age – 36 years and 262 days – making him the oldest player from a Test-playing nation to score a century in T20Is. This landmark achievement surpassed the previous record held by the formidable Chris Gayle.

Afghanistan’s response was equally valiant, with openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran setting the stage with impressive half-centuries. Gulbadin Naib’s heroic unbeaten 55* off 23 balls pushed the match into a Super Over, where the drama only intensified.

Washington Sundar emerged as India’s hero with the ball, claiming three crucial wickets for 18 runs in his three overs. Kuldeep Yadav and Avesh Khan, though expensive, managed to make crucial breakthroughs. India’s fielding prowess was on full display, contributing to the pressure on the Afghan side.

The first super over ended in a deadlock, with both teams scoring 16 runs each, setting the stage for a historic second super over. In a nerve-wracking climax, India successfully defended 11 runs, and it was the young sensation Ravi Bishnoi who etched his name in the annals of cricketing folklore.

Bishnoi’s exceptional spell saw him take two wickets in three balls, sealing India’s victory and breaking Afghanistan’s resilient spirit as India clinched the 5-match series 3-0.

(IANS)