In a nail-biting finale at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, the third and final T20I between India and Afghanistan etched its name in cricket history with the unprecedented occurrence of two Super Overs. The thrill intensified as both teams posted identical scores of 212 in the allotted 20 overs, and even the first Super Over concluded with a tie at 16 runs each.
As the second Super Over unfolded, it became evident that nothing in international cricket is straightforward, especially when led by a seasoned captain like Rohit Sharma. When India managed only 11 runs in their second Super Over, eyebrows were raised, considering the seemingly modest target. However, Rohit Sharma, the captain, had other plans. Avesh Khan, initially set to bowl the second Super Over, was replaced by leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi at the last minute.
Rohit’s strategic decision proved pivotal in securing India’s victory. As Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi and Rahmanullah Gurbaz took the crease, Ravi Bishnoi delivered a tight first ball. Adjusting his length intelligently, he exploited the larger leg-side boundary, forcing Nabi to mistime his shot, resulting in a catch by Rinku Singh at long-off.
Next in line was Karim Janat, and Ravi Bishnoi altered his length, going wide and full to deny him any room. Janat managed only a single, leaving Afghanistan needing 10 runs off 4 balls. Bishnoi anticipated Gurbaz’s aggressive intent and bowled a delivery similar to the one that deceived Nabi. Gurbaz attempted a flat-batted swat, but the connection was suboptimal, leading to another catch for Rinku Singh.
With two wickets in the Super Over, Bishnoi’s performance secured India’s victory. In post-match discussions, Ravi Bishnoi revealed that both he and Avesh Khan were prepared to bowl, but when the team noticed two right-handed batters, Rohit Sharma opted for the spinner, recognizing the advantage of the larger leg-side boundary.
WHAT. A. MATCH! 🤯
An edge of the seat high scoring thriller in Bengaluru ends with #TeamIndia‘s match and series win 🥳
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 17, 2024
“Both of us were told to be ready but when they saw two right-handers coming in, they asked me to bowl with the bigger leg-side boundary,” Ravi Bishnoi told Jio Cinema after the match. By they, he was most likely referring to captain Rohit.
India’s head coach, Rahul Dravid, acknowledged Rohit’s astute decision, emphasizing the importance of taking wickets in a short Super Over format. Dravid highlighted Rohit’s commitment to an aggressive approach, choosing Bishnoi over a potentially safer option, showcasing a captain’s instinct that contributed to India’s triumph in this historic encounter.
“So you needed to take two wickets and I think it was a great call from the skipper because he (Bishnoi) could have gone for two sixes. But I thought Bishnoi was brilliant because he bowled two superb balls; he just kept the length back, and had it gone slightly fuller, the way they were batting probably on a small ground would have gone for a six. Really good gut call from Rohit, to go for wickets, be more positive and aggressive rather than probably a safer option which people would have expected,” Rahul Dravid added.