India pip Bangladesh in another last-ball thriller to win Asia Cup for 7th time
Dubai:Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kedar Jadhav kept their cool to steer India to victory over Bangladesh and secure their seventh Asia Cup trophy in Dubai on Friday. Chasing 223, India were in early trouble after the in-form Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu fell early.
Rohit Sharma, India’s stand-in captain was in top form right through the tournament and he started the chase confidently even as he lost two partners within quick succession of each other. Rohit pierced the gaps for three boundaries and hit three sixes before falling to Rubel Hossain for 48.
Rohit’s dismissal brought Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni together and even though the latter took his time early on in his innings, there was no pressure on the Indian camp. Gradually, the pair started opening up but Karthik was done in for 37 by Mahmudullah when he missed a full toss and the ball him in front of middle stump.
The onus was then on Dhoni but he was still far from his best. However, with the asking rate well within control. But Bangladesh’s hopes were raised when Kedar Jadhav walked in to bat and after playing a couple of breathtaking shots, began to cramp up. Dhoni, under pressure to get on with the scoring played a rash shot and fell to Mustafizur Rahman. Soon after, Jadhav had to retire hurt.
However, that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Jadeja joined forces with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and brought India close to their target. The duo ran hard – Jadeja hit just one boundary while Bhuvneshwar hit one six and a boundary with 13 runs needed off the last three overs.
Jadeja fell to Hossain with only 11 needed off 16 balls – that brought Jadhav back to the crease. But this time, there was no limp and struggle. Jadhav kept his nerves and hung around till the last ball to see India through in a thriller.
But as a Bangladesh fan, you could not fault your team for lack of effort. The bowlers, led by skipper Mashrafe Mortaza were heroic after Liton Das’s maiden hundred guided them to 222.
Liton and Mehidy had added a record 120 for the opening wicket before Bangladesh lost their way with the bat. Even as India kept picking regular wickets thereafter, Das held his ground before falling for a 117-ball 121.
This was the second successive Asia Cup final where India took on Bangladesh . In 2016, India had decimated Bangladesh in the final (of the Asia Cup T20). Overall, this was India’s seventh Asia Cup triumph.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, lost their second successive multi-nation tournament final to India. In March, Bangladesh had lost the Nidahas Trophy final when Karthik slammed an 8-ball 29 to give India a memorable victory.