It was time for the one last battle in the Asia Cup 2018. India and Bangladesh were the 2 sides in the final. What the 2 sides produced, was worthy of a final. India went on to clinch the match off the last ball. In doing so, the Men in Blue defended their Asian title and won it for the record 7th time.
India won the toss and opted to bowl. The Men in Blue have been good in chasing throughout the tournament and the decision to bat second made sense given the batting gets easier under lights. Bangladesh pulled off a surprise as Mehidy Hasan was sent out to open the innings alongside Liton Das.
Liton on the offensive
Liton came out with an aggressive approach and went after the Indian seamers. There wasn’t much movement available either in the air or off the surface. Liton went all guns blazing while Mehidy took the back seat. The score raced off to 33 after 5 overs. Spin was introduced but the batsman smacked Chahal for 2 sixes in his 2nd over. After 10 overs, the batting side reached 65/0.
Liton reached his fifty off just 33 balls and was in no mood to stop. Ravindra Jadeja came into the attack and induced a top edge but Chahal couldn’t latch onto that. The opener made full use of the let-off and carried on his merry way. The 100-run partnership came up in the 18th over and a threat was looming over India.
Kedar’s golden arm
After 20 overs, Bangladesh reached 116 without loss. The man with the slinging action – Kedar Jadhav came into the attack and like many other occasions, he provided India the breakthrough. Mehidy tried to loft the ball over the off side but the ball didn’t bounce a lot because of the low arm. He found Rayudu at covers and had to walk back for 32 off 59 balls.
That was the sniff India needed and they pounced onto the opportunity. Chahal removed Imrul Kayes for 2 and Jadhav bagged another in the form of Mushfiqur Rahim for 5. Jadeja rose to the occasion and produced a breathtaking run-out that scripted the departure of Mohammad Mithun for 2. All of a sudden, the batting side was reeling at 139/4.
The slide down
Liton had slowed down as he was nearing his hundred. Ultimately, the right-hander notched up his maiden ODI hundred off 87 balls in the 29th over. But India kept chipping away with the wickets and it was time for Kuldeep to pick up one as he got Mahmudullah out for 4.
There was a lot of pressure applied by the Indian bowlers that tightened the screws. Runs weren’t coming easy and a labored partnership for the 6th wicket yielded 37 runs. When Liton began to up the ante, he was stumped by Dhoni for 121 off 117 balls off the bowling of Kuldeep.
In the last few overs, India’s brilliant fielding brought 2 run-outs. Bumrah made a terrific comeback at the death and choked the batsmen for runs. He bagged the last wicket of the innings by castling Rubel off a perfect yorker. Bangladesh bundled out for 222 with 9 balls to spare and fell well short of what they should have achieved.
A shaky start for India
India’s chase began with a flourish as both the openers struck a boundary each in the first over of Mehidy. Rohit Sharma looked in sublime form and so did Shikhar Dhawan. It felt as if these two will run away with the game once again but Dhawan faltered. In the hunt to clear mid-off, he lofted Nazmul Islam to mid-off and got out for 15.
Rohit was timing the ball well but Bangladesh was trying to make things happen. The captain Mashrafe Mortaza brought himself on in the 8th over and made an immediate impact. Ambati Rayudu nicked one to the keeper and India lost the 2nd wicket. After 10 overs, India scored 57/2 and with the presence of Rohit, they were still in the driver’s seat.
The scoring rate didn’t drop even after 2 wickets for a while. Rohit was nearing yet another half-century but his stay at the crease was cut short by Rubel off a short ball. The Indian skipper departed after scoring 48 off 55 balls in the 17th over. Bangladesh applied pressure from that point onwards and certainly made a comeback in the game.
A thrilling encounter
MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik were at the crease and the duo soaked in the pressure. They had time on their side as the target wasn’t a daunting one. They took their time and settled in nicely. A stand of 54 runs kept India in the game. Karthik was going well until Mahmudullah trapped him in front in the 31st over for 37 as the score read 137/4.
Dhoni was setting himself to be there until the end. Mustafizur struck in a crunch situation and bagged the big wicket of the Indian wicketkeeper for 36. Kedar Jadhav was looking to be aggressive but he encountered an issue with his hamstring. He couldn’t take close singles and shortly after, got retired hurt.
Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar stitched together a stand of 52 runs and brought the side close. Both got out in the vicinity of the victory. Jadhav, who had gone off the field, came back for his country and stood tall. Bangladesh fought hard and brought it down to 6 from the last over.
The main bowlers had exhausted their quota of overs and the bowling team had to go for Mahmudullah. Kuldeep Yadav and Jadhav did the smart thing and did it in singles. With 1 needed from the last ball, a leg bye down the leg side and Jadhav came across for a single. The Men in Blue made it past the line and defended the title to become the Asian Champions for the 7th time.
India won the toss and opted to bowl first
Bangladesh: 222/10 in 48.3 overs
Liton Das 121 (117), Soumya Sarkar 33 (45)
Kuldeep Yadav 45/3 (10), Kedar Jadhav 41/2 (9)
India: 223/7 in 50 overs
Rohit Sharma 48 (55), Dinesh Karthik 37 (61)
Rubel Hossain 26/2 (10), Mustafizur Rahman 38/2 (10)
India won by 3 wickets
Player of the Match: Liton Das
Player of the Tournament: Shikhar Dhawan