HomeAnalysisAsia Cup 2018: Afghanistan End Campaign With Their Heads...

Asia Cup 2018: Afghanistan End Campaign With Their Heads Held High

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Fans witnessed the best match of the Asia Cup 2018 with Afghanistan holding India to a tie in a cracking Super Four affair in Dubai. For a side that has been playing breathtaking cricket in limited-overs, a tie against India felt like a victory. It was unbelievable courage and charisma that saw the Afghans bow out on a high. Their overall all-round show throughout was a significant tale.
What was special for the Afghans in the Asia Cup 2018 was that, in not even a single match did they surrender meekly. They started the tourney with a bang and continued to play in similar vein chipping in with the goods. Every time the rising team stepped on to the field, they spoke bravely through their performances. It was a happy camp that enjoyed what they offered.
In the end, Afghans ended the continental showpiece on a similar note as they started the same. The players deserve every bit of praise for coming out and delivering these almost ‘match-winning’ performances.
Afghanistan will be happy with their achievement and everyone who is watching them play, too look impressed, knowing that the future looks strong.

Performance against India a superb show

Against India, the Afghan team might not have won, but they displayed their winning mentality. Mohammad Shahzad’s blitz with the bat was a superb ODI century in recent memory. He targeted the Indian inexperienced bowling attack. When he reached his ton, Afghanistan’s total score was 131.
The credit for this performance by the side goes largely to Shahzad, who slammed his 5th ODI ton. After making a 116-ball 124, he received a richly-deserved standing ovation.
Afghans had surrendered control for most parts of the game, but once they broke the opening stand of India, the magic started to flow. India almost had the match in their pocket, but when Ravindra Jadeja miscued a pull-shot, it gave Afghanistan a reason to celebrate.
This result against a top side will give them confidence when they face big teams in the ICC World Cup 2019.

Batting, the real deal in Asia Cup 2018

Afghanistan put in a commendable shift with the bat throughout the Asia Cup. Not just one innings or two, in every match they put up a decent show with the willow. The batsmen consistently got to impressive scores on slow turning pitches and conditions that were hot and humid.
Hashmatullah Shahidi was a class act and was consistent throughout. He ended with 263 runs in the tournament that had three fifties in five matches.
Opener Mohammad Shahzad, who hit a sparkling ton against India, ended as the top-scorer with 268 runs.  The likes of Mohammad Nabi too made it count in important matches. Altogether what we witnessed was that in every match someone always came out strong and contributed.

Brilliant moments for rising Afghans

The blend of youth and experience helped Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka by 91 runs to start their campaign. That got them going and another massive win came against Bangladesh. Two wins against quality teams got them to believe. In the Super Four, they once again played to their strengths. In all three matches, they didn’t cross the line, but they gave teams a run for their money.
Through these performances, we all witnessed a team that came out and played a fearless brand of cricket. Perhaps experience gained from here will help them in their road to the World Cup. They were very close in sealing a place in the finale, but thanks to the side for giving us splendid moments.

Rashid led the spin show well

20-year-old youngster Rashid Khan is definitely the best spinner in the world at the moment in ODIs and T20Is. There is no doubt in that, 10 wickets to his name in the event saw him cap off another spectacular tourney.
The youngster kept spinning his mastery throughout. He was the most impactful spinner and the side utilised him well. Against India too, he bowled the last over and didn’t allow the opponent to seal the game. Imagine a spinner bowling a final over in a tense match. Only special players can do this and we need to credit the Afghan think tank for giving him the platform to take responsibility.
Teenage spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s tally of 7 wickets was also impressive. He bowled with the new ball throughout and was a miser with his economy rate. Afghan spinners had a dream run in the Asia Cup and they contributed immensely. There’s more to come.

Afghanistan gave us the best moments

When you look at the Super Four stage, all three matches Afghans played went down the wire. Against Pakistan, they lost the game in 49.3 overs. Against Bangladesh, they were defeated by just three runs and then there was this tie against India. These bunch of players were class.
Against Bangladesh in Pool B, Rashid’s fifty in a precarious situation was a terrific effort. His blitz in the final overs gave us so much to root for. Shahzad’s sparkling ton was another brilliant moment. This Asia Cup 2018 will always be remembered for the exploits by the Afghanistan players.
Now the side will go back to the dressing room and look to address the issues that need to see them win in crucial junctures. Once this experience comes into play, we expect them to rise further.  It will be an interesting phase as the ICC World Cup is less than 12 months away.
What they need is some more experience to finish off games.
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