Afghanistan's opening batsmen, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, made a significant impact in the third and final T20I against India in Bengaluru. Their outstanding performance led to the highest-ever partnership for Afghanistan against India in the 20-over format. Despite the eventual loss, the Afghan openers set the stage for a thrilling match.
A Solid Start
Gurbaz and Zadran got off to an impressive start, adding 51 runs during the powerplay overs (1-6). By the ninth over, Afghanistan had reached 67/0, with the openers displaying excellent batting skills. The duo continued to build a strong foundation, with 18 runs coming in the tenth over. Gurbaz, who reached his fifty with a six, was eventually dismissed by Kuldeep Yadav in the 11th over. In the 13th over, Zadran's aggressive approach led to his stumping.
The Highest Partnership Against India
According to ESPNcricinfo, Gurbaz and Zadran's partnership of 93 runs is now the highest for any wicket against India in the 20-over format. This record surpasses the previous mark of 68 runs set by Noor Ali Zadran and Asghar Stanikzai for the fourth wicket back in 2010. Notably, Mohammad Nabi and Azmatullah Omarzai also contributed to the record books with their 68-run partnership for the fourth wicket in the 2024 series opener.
"Gurbaz and Zadran's partnership showcases the rising strength of Afghan cricket against formidable opponents like India."
Impressive Afghan Records
The partnership between Gurbaz and Zadran is not only Afghanistan's highest against India but also their third-highest opening partnership. The record for the highest opening stand belongs to Usman Ghani and Hazratullah Zazai, who scored a staggering 236 runs against Ireland in 2019. Following closely behind is the partnership of Usman Ghani and Mohammad Shahzad, who notched up 95 runs against Zimbabwe in 2015.
Gurbaz's Explosive Fifty
Rahmanullah Gurbaz's knock of 50 runs from just 32 balls exemplified his explosive batting style. He displayed a wide range of shots, including three fours and four sixes, contributing significantly to the partnership. Gurbaz has amassed an impressive total of 1,271 runs from 49 matches, showcasing his consistency and skill as an opening batsman. This was his sixth fifty in T20Is.
Zadran's Solid Contribution
Ibrahim Zadran's composed innings of 50 from 41 balls demonstrated his ability to stabilize the innings and provide support to his opening partner. Zadran's knock included well-timed shots and effective stroke play, showcasing his growing maturity as a batsman. With 699 runs at an average of 26.88, Zadran has proven to be a valuable asset for Afghanistan. This was his fourth fifty in T20Is.
A Thrilling Encounter
India's Rohit Sharma and Rinku Singh played pivotal roles in posting a formidable total of 212/4 after a shaky start. The duo's partnership of 190 runs rescued India from a precarious position of 22/4. In response, Afghanistan displayed tremendous resilience and determination, managing to tie the match with a remarkable performance from Gulbadin Naib. The contest was eventually decided by a thrilling second Super Over, won by India.
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Gurbaz and Zadran's historic partnership against India in the third T20I showcased the immense talent and potential of Afghan cricket. Their remarkable achievement will be remembered as a significant milestone in the country's cricketing history. The Afghan team's ability to compete with and challenge strong opponents like India indicates their continuous growth and progress in international cricket. Moving forward, Afghanistan's rising stars will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future of the sport in their country.