On This Day: India retained Asia Cup title by beating Bangladesh in last-ball thriller
India beat Bangladesh by three wickets with no balls to spare to win the 2018 Asia Cup. In what turned out to be a riveting final, India’s win was orchestrated by some gritty batting from the lower middle order. Defending a target of 223, Bangladesh managed to get rid of Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu early in the innings. They then dismissed Rohit Sharma just as the Indian captain started looking dangerous. While Bangladesh kept picking wickets at regular intervals after that, carefully constructed partnerships like the one between veterans Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni, ended in India ending the match with their noses ever so slightly ahead.
Dhawan and Rayudu were dismissed for 15 and 2 respectively and India 46/2 after seven overs. Rohit Sharma then took the attack to the opposition and raced to 48. His innings included three fours and as many sixes but it was while attempting one such shot off Rubel Hossain that he ended up getting caught in the deep. MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik then weathered the charged Bangladeshi attack and carefully pieced together a 54-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
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While Bangladesh looked increasingly deflated as the two accrued runs, the wicket of Dinesh Karthik put them right back in the game. Karthik took a full toss from Mahmudullah flush on his toes and the umpire didn’t hesitate for a moment before lifting the finger. Dhoni departed soon after and Kedar Jadhav could not bat for too long before he had to limp out of the pitch retired hurt.
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Despite these setbacks, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja kept the scoreboard ticking which meant that the required run rate never really crept up to insurmountable levels for the Indians. After Bhuvneshwar was dismissed for a valuable 21, Jadhav came back to see out the rest of the innings. Jadeja was soon dismissed and it was soon left up to a hamstrung Jadhav and tail-ender Kuldeep to get the final six runs needed off the last over. They took singles off the first two balls before a double. Then came a dot ball and then two more singles off the final two balls. The Bangladesh players, despite losing the match, had smiles on their faces.
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Earlier in the day, Bangladesh openers Liton Das and Mehedy Hasan Miraz razed the Indian bowlers in the first 20 overs to put up a 120-run partnership. Liton was the man who went after the bowlers and he reached his half-century in just 33 balls. Kedar Jadhav was the man with the important once again for India as he broke the opening partnership by dismissing Mehidy.
But the rest of the Bangladesh batsmen simply failed to turn up after that. Soumya Sarkar then stuck with Liton and helped rebuild the innings. Liton reached his maiden ODI century in that time and had managed to accrue 120 runs before being dismissed in the 41st over. Sarkar batted with the tail and pulled Bangladesh to their eventual total of 222.