The third and final T20I between India and Afghanistan delivered more than just cricket; it etched its place in history with a thrilling encounter that required two Super Overs to determine a winner, a first in international cricket history. The match, initially considered a dead rubber, turned into a roller-coaster of emotions with both teams finishing with 212 runs in their allotted 20 overs.
The first Super Over ended in a tie, both teams scoring 16 runs each. The second Super Over saw India emerge victorious. Among the many remarkable moments in the Chinnaswamy Stadium, one incident that caught everyone’s attention was Mohammad Nabi’s decision to run for byes after the ball deflected off his legs.
In the last ball of the first Super Over, India’s Mukesh Kumar executed a perfect wide yorker, and Nabi, unable to connect, saw the ball deflect off his legs. Non-striker Rahmanullah Gurbaz set off for a single, and Nabi capitalized on the confusion, sprinting for a second and then a third run.
India captain Rohit Sharma was furious, charging towards Nabi and expressing his discontent. However, the runs were deemed legitimate, adding two extra byes to Afghanistan’s Super Over total.
Here is the video of the incident:
— Nihari Korma (@NihariVsKorma) January 18, 2024
The incident raised questions about the spirit of the game and whether Nabi’s actions were in line with cricketing ethics. According to the laws of the game, Nabi had done nothing wrong, running to the non-striker’s end without altering his path. The ball deflecting off his leg was a matter of fate, reminiscent of similar instances in cricket, like Ben Stokes in the World Cup final.
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The spirit of the game debate resurfaced, prompting discussions about whether rules could be tweaked to shift responsibility from players in situations like these. While some argue for a modification, likening it to the case where batters can’t run if the ball deflects off their body when not offering a shot, others maintain that cricket’s inherent uncertainties must be embraced.
India’s head coach, Rahul Dravid, addressed the issue in a post-match press conference, expressing no objection to Nabi’s actions. Dravid noted that an Indian batter had done something similar in the series before, indicating a level playing field in these situations. The debate continues about balancing the laws of the game with the spirit of cricket.