Dhaka-Bangladesh fought bravely after a horrible middle-order collapse to take the Asia Cup final to a nail-biting last-ball finish before India pulled off an extraordinary escape on Friday.
The reigning champions won the riveting game of cricket – one that twisted and turned under sweltering heat of Dubai – by three wickets.
The Tigers’ propensity to lose the plot in crunch moments against India came back to haunt them again as they kept throwing wickets away despite a brilliant maiden ODI hundred by opener Liton Das.Needing to defend five in the final over, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza asked Soumya Sarkar to bowl before changing his mind and handed the ball to Mahmudullah.
Mustafizur Rahman took out Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first delivery of the 49th over and conceded only 3 runs to vindicate his skipper’s decision to let him bowl the penultimate over.
It meant India needed 6 from the last over.Kuldeep Yadav took a single off the first delivery and Kedar Jadhav, who returned to the crease after retiring hurt with hamstring problems, also took a single. Kuldeep then managed two.
Chances of a Super Over arose when the fourth ball produced no run. Kuldeep, who was back on strike for the last ball with a single required, managed to sneak a leg bye to break Bangladesh’s hearts.
Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar had kept their cool to steer India to their seventh Asia Cup trophy.Defending a target of 223, Bangladesh removed Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu early.
Dhawan and Rayudu were departed for 15 and 2 respectively and India were reduced to 46 for 2 after seven overs.Rohit Sharma, who has been in top form, started the chase confidently even as he lost two partners in quick succession.
But the Tigers dismissed him just as the stand-in Indian captain started looking dangerous.He raced to 48 with the help of three fours and as many sixes before he was caught off Rubel Hossain in the deep.
The breakthrough brought Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni together and their 54-run-stand hurt Bangladesh’s chances.Earlier, Bangladesh got off to a flying start as the decision to push Mehidy Hasan Miraz to open with Liton proved to a master stroke.
They were 116 without loss after 20 overs and looked set for an imposing total at one stage, but they capitulated spectacularly to be bowled out for only 222 in the 49th over.
Liton and Miraz (32) laid a solid platform for the team with a superb partnership of 120, Bangladesh’s second-highest opening stand against India.Liton took the attack to the bowlers, bringing his half-century in just 33 balls. With the seamers failing to provide the breakthrough, Rohit brought spinner Kedar Jadhav into the attack.
A tiring and cramping Mehidy wanted to crash Jadhav’s delivery through the covers, but hit the spinner straight to Rayudu in the 21st over.
The Tigers managed only 102 after his dismissal.Liton kept losing partners as the Tigers collapsed from 120-0 to 151-5 to give the initiative back to India’s spinners. The opener hit 11 boundaries and two sixes to reach the fantastic hundred.
Imrul Kayes (2), Mushfiqur Rahim (5) and Mohammad Mithun (2), and Mahmudullah (4) fell in a heap at the other end for just 31 runs in 9 overs of madness.
Only Soumya Sarkar (33) got into double-digit as experienced batsmen threw their wickets away when the team needed to rebuild.Earlier, Rohit won the toss and sent the Tigers to bat first.
One change was made to the Bangladesh side as left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam Apu was called up to the squad to replace left-handed batsman Mominul Haque.
Bangladesh also lost to India in the final of the last Asia Cup, which was a T20 tournament.In 2012, the Tigers lost to Pakistan, whom they flattened in a virtual semifinal on Wednesday. bdnews24.com