You came to watch a dead rubber, but you leave witnessing history. There were not one, but two Super Overs in the third T20I between India and Afghanistan. India had already sealed the series 2-0, and it was a bilateral series without any repercussions. But the game went down to the wire for the first double Super Over in international cricket.
Rohit Sharma cashed in to the fullest. After two ducks in the previous games of the series, he batted thrice and was never dismissed by a bowler. His 121 not out helped India recover from 22/4 to post 212/4 alongside Rinku Singh, who bashed an unbeaten 69 off 39 deliveries.
In a slow start, both Afghanistan openers notched up fifties, but an unbeaten 23-ball 55 from Gulbadin Naib took the game to a tie. But that was only the start of the drama.
Running for a bye on the last ball of the first Super Over, Mohammad Nabi inadvertently deflected a throw from Sanju Samson at the non-striker’s end. It allowed Afghanistan two extra runs and led to an argument between him and Rohit.
After another tied encounter in the Super Over, India finally clinched in the 44th over of the game, with Nabi and Rahmanullah Gurbaz holding out at long-off while chasing 12. They clinched the series 3-0, and here are some notable pointers from India’s perspective.
Rohit can do anything
The Indian skipper headed into the game with multiple question marks on his spot in the T20 side. The persistent fall of wickets at the other end didn’t help. Rohit was on 27 in his first 30 balls (90.0).
This was the first time in T20Is that Rohit had a strike rate of less than 100 in his first 30 balls.
He completed his fifty from 41 deliveries, only three balls away from matching his slowest T20I half-century as yet. Afterwards, it was sheer carnage. He smoked 71 runs from only 27 deliveries. It was an incredible display of power-hitting, almost at will at certain points.
It highlights Rohit’s quality of producing boundaries at whim when he has his eyes in. And he can play the waiting game as well. The 36-year-old has showcased his potential multiple times on tracks where others struggle. His 87 against England in Lucknow in the 2023 World Cup is a prime example.
However, there is another layer to this knock. Despite a slow start, Rohit still played his strokes, attacking nearly 44% of his first 30 deliveries. After the fall of four wickets in needless Harakiri, India were able to get in terms with the run rate quite soon at the back of Rohit and Rinku. Rohit was keen on displaying intent with calculative risks.
“Kept talking with Rinku to not lose intent,” said Rohit after the game. Rohit is the biggest talking point of the game, after the Super Over madness, of course.
Rinku, the six-hitter
Rinku Singh is a gift that keeps on giving!
While Rohit took centre stage in the last five overs, where India bashed 103 runs, Rinku faced only 10 deliveries. However, staying true to his character, he hammered 33 runs on those, including four sixes.
The 19th and the 20th overs have become his speciality. Having made his debut only five months ago, Rinku already has the joint fourth-most number of sixes for India in the final two overs (14).
Only 12 Indian batters scored over 100 runs in this brief phase. Rinku’s strike rate of
326.8 is at least 50 runs more than the next best, Suryakumar Yadav.
The left-hander has unbelievable numbers which he has attained with such consistency that you cannot just rest it to the beginner’s luck. In addition, he has done the collapse arrestor role as well.
India’s ambitions to play both Rohit and Virat Kohli allow only one spot up for grabs from the lot that made their debut post the 2022 World Cup. Rinku, with his six-hitting consistency, is making it hard for the management to ignore him.
Avesh continues to struggle
Indian seamers, including the two overs bowled by Shivam Dube, conceded 124 runs in 10 overs between them. Avesh Khan was the most expensive bowler, conceding 1/55 in his four overs.
The right-armer has conceded at an economy of nine or more 11 times in his 20 T20Is as yet. He has gone at more than 10 runs/over eight times. Avesh is thin on the wickets column as well, managing only 19 wickets at 32.5 runs apiece.
The economy rate of Indian pacers has risen from 8.3 in 2021/22 to 9.1 since 2023. And Avesh is slowly turning into a no-returns investment for the team.
Rinku Singh - a one-stop solution for India’s all T20 batting needs
Rohit records 5th ton in first-ever T20I double super over
Answering many questions with one six at a time - the Rohit Sharma style
Bastab K Parida
A struggling Rohit's snub could lead India to their best XI
Gill susceptibile against pace while Rinku is a different batter vs spin
The repercussions of going back to Rohit and Kohli in T20Is
World Cup 2019: A tournament to remember for Rohit
The legend of Rinku Singh has just begun
Bastab K Parida
Rinku Singh defies the odds to rise from despair and etch history