By Elton Gomes
India defeated Bangladesh by three wickets in a nail-biting final of the Asia Cup on Friday. After winning the toss, India’s Rohit Sharma decided to bowl. Bangladesh started on a strong note, with Liton Das’ century. Das scored 121 off 117 balls, and the Tigers were off to a magnificent start.
Das and Mehidy Hasan were proving too strong for India, but Hasan’s dismissal turned things around. Bangladesh’s middle order collapsed soon after Hasan was dismissed. Imrul Kayes (2), Mushfiqur Rahim (5), Mohammad Mithun (2) and Mahmudullah (4) departed in quick succession, leaving Bangladesh in trouble.
Bangladesh were 120-0 at one point, but they lost five wickets for 31 runs. Soumya Sarkar tried to add some runs to Bangladesh’s tally but was unable to do much, and Bangladesh was all out for 222.
India got off to a good start but lost Shikhar Dhawan (15) and Ambati Rayudu (2) in quick succession. Captain Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik added the runs for India in the middle over. After Sharma became out, Karthik and M.S. Dhoni stitched an important 54-run partnership. India was under pressure after Karthik and Dhoni became out, but Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s 45-run partnership kept the target in sight for India.
Kedar Jadhav, who went back to the dressing room after suffering a hamstring injury, returned in the second last over. Jadhav kept his cool to score the winning runs for India on the last ball of the match.
India’s winning captain Rohit Sharma seemed happy with the team and gave credit to India’s middle order. Sharma said, “We played some really good cricket throughout the tournament and this is the reward of hardwork throughout the tournament. I have been part of games like this before and credit to the guys in the middle to handle the pressure and to cross the finishing line was a fantastic effort,” News18 reported.
India’s road to the final
Under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, India began their Asia Cup title defence with a match against Hong Kong. Although the match was considered to be a cakewalk for the Men in Blue, they were restricted to 285/7, but managed to win by 26 runs. India then faced Pakistan in the mother of all cricket encounters. Indian pacers were on-point right from the start, and Pakistani batsmen failed to deliver. Sarfraz Ahmed’s team was all-out for 162 as Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kedar Jadhav took three wickets each.
In the Super Fours, India once again put on a stellar performance and restricted Bangladesh to 173. India easily won the match and chased down the target within 36.2 overs. India met Pakistan yet again in the Super Fours and managed to outplay their neighbours. Centuries by Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma helped India emerge victoriously and book a spot in the final. India’s match with Afghanistan ended in a draw after Ravindra Jadeja was dismissed in the second last ball of the match, and India was unable to reach the target of 253.
Bangladesh’s road to the final
Bangladesh began their campaign on a high note with a win against Sri Lanka in the opening game. Although Sri Lankan veteran Lasith Malinga wreaked havoc with his bowling, Mushfiqur Rahim helped Bangladesh post 261 runs. In the next match against Afghanistan, none of the Bangladeshi batsmen performed well and the team was all-out for a meagre 119. Afghanistan won the match by 136 runs.
Bangladesh faced India in the Super Fours and lost the match by seven wickets. Afghanistan and Bangladesh met again in the Super Fours, and this time the Tigers managed to win by three runs. Bangladesh’s next opponent was Pakistan, and it was Mushfiqur Rahim who came to his team’s rescue once again. Bangladesh set Pakistan a target of 240 and won the match by 37 runs.
A brief history of the Asia Cup
The Asian Cricket Council – founded to promote goodwill between Asian nations – initiated the Asia Cup in 1983. Since the council had its offices in UAE, the first edition of the Asia Cup was played in Sharjah. The inaugural edition of the Asia Cup featured India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. India won the first edition by defeating Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
India is the most successful team by winning the competition seven times, including their recent victory. In second place is Sri Lanka, and the Islanders have won the competition five times. Pakistan has registered two victories in 2000 and 2012.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
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