Rashid Khan struck with the penultimate delivery of the match to salvage a tie for Afghanistan and end India's 100 per cent Asia Cup record after Mohammad Shahzad blasted a magnificent century in a Dubai thriller.
Ravindra Jadeja mistimed a pull to Najibullah Zadran when the scores were level on 252 to deny India - already assured a place in Friday's final - victory.
India needed just seven from the final over and looked set to get home when Jadeja found the boundary with a slog-sweep off spin sensation Rashid (2-41) from the second ball, but it was honours even when he fell for 25.
Shahzad's brutal 124 from only 116 balls and a rapid 64 off 56 deliveries from Mohammad Nabi got the underdogs up to 252-8, Jadeja taking 3-46 in an encounter where even a shock win would not have been enough for Afghanistan to reach the decider.
They finished on a high note, though, preventing the holders from maintaining their perfect record ahead of a showdown with Pakistan or Bangladesh after openers KL Rahul (60) and Ambati Rayudu (57) got them off to a flyer with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan rested.
It was a one-man show at the top of the order for Afghanistan after Asghar Afghan won the toss, the powerful Shahzad dealing in boundaries as wickets tumbled at the other end.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was fortunate to reach his half-century when he was dropped by Rayudu at mid-off in the ninth over and Nabi offered some support in a fifth-wicket stand of 50 after debutant Deepak Chahar got rid of Gulbadin Naib for his maiden ODI wicket.
Shahzad continued to set about the India attack, bringing up his fifth ODI hundred by glancing Chahar to the fine-leg boundary before Kedar Jadhav finally saw the back of the burly opener, who cleared the ropes seven times and hit another 11 boundaries.
Nabi kept Afghanistan motoring, but their total did not look to be sufficient when Rahul and Rayudu combined for a century opening stand to put India well on their way to another victory.
All-rounder Nabi got the breakthrough when he dismissed Rayudu - chief aggressor with four sixes - and Rashid got in on the act when he trapped Rahul leg before, but Dinesh Karthik's patient 44 kept the holders on course.
Yet wickets tumbled at regular intervals as India faltered and Jadeja fell in a dramatic final twist.
22. Oktober 2018
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21. Oktober 2018
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|I thought we would do better - Hamilton queries Mercedes strategy|
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|Patriots RB Michel out against Bears with gruesome knee injury|
|Kohli hails Rohit partnership after comprehensive India victory|
|Silva downplays his role after Everton super subs seal victory|
|Injured Bairstow out of final white-ball matches in Sri Lanka|
|Pliskova feeling confident after impressive start in Singapore|
|Big-hitting Imrul rescues Bangladesh in opening ODI|
|Leinster suffer late defeat at Toulouse, Newcastle snatch dramatic victory|
|Chargers pip Titans to dramatic London win|
|Everton 2 Crystal Palace 0: Substitutes Calvert-Lewin and Tosun clip Eagles´ wings|
|Thunderstorms push Andalucia Valderrama Masters into reserve day|
|Edmund masters Monfils to claim maiden singles title|
|Kohli and Rohit fire India to comprehensive ODI win|
|Manchester United didn´t play - David Luiz blasts Mourinho tactics|
|Svitolina out to silence ´haters´ in Singapore|
|Emre Can facing surgery on thyroid problem|
|Tsitsipas claims maiden ATP crown in Stockholm|
|Mariners boss Mulvey knows nothing of Bolt contract offer|
|WATCH: Vinicius Junior scores free-kick - then sees red!|
|Gronkowski ruled out of Bears clash|
|Khachanov enjoys home comforts with comprehensive Kremlin Cup win|
|Isner wants Wimbledon tie-break rule named after him|
|Hummels lauds ´outstanding´ Lewandowski|
|Liverpool´s defensive improvement no accident – Gomez|
|Pliskova overpowers defending champion Wozniacki in Singapore|
|Marquez dislocates shoulder celebrating MotoGP title|
|Henry taking positives from opening Monaco defeat|
|A-League Review: Mariners held as Bolt considers move|
|Dominant Svitolina ends Kvitova hoodoo in Singapore|
|Pereira warns Juventus to expect ´pumped up´ Manchester United|
|D´Antoni backs NBA to ´sort out´ Lakers-Rockets brawl|