India Beat Bangladesh in a Last-Ball Thriller to Win 7th Asia Cup
- India clinched their seventh Asia Cup title after winning a last-ball thriller against Bangladesh by three wickets.
- Bangladesh’s Liton Das was named the Player of the Match for his innings of 121 runs.
- India’s Shikhar Dhawan was named the Player of the Tournament for scoring 342 runs in the competition.
Kedar Jadhav and Kuldeep Yadav held their nerve to take India to a thrilling three-wicket victory in the Asia Cup final in Dubai on Friday. The win also shattered Bangladesh's dream of winning their maiden Asia Cup title while the Rohit Sharma-led Indian side clinched the prestigious title for a record seven times.
Chasing a modest 223-run target, India lost wickets at regular intervals to make the contest unpredictable, thanks to a disciplined Bangladesh bowling attack.
However, in a match going down the wire, Jadeja (23) and Bhuvneshwar's (21) rose to the occasion and strung a crucial 45-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started the proceedings well as India raced away to 35 runs in 4.3 overs, but the joy was shortlived as left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam produced the first breakthrought for Bangladesh.
Dhawan (15), while trying to go over Nazmul's head, gave an easy catch to Soumya Sarkar at mid-off.
With just the addition of another 11 runs, India received another blow as incoming batsman Ambati Rayudu (2) fell cheaply off a Mashrafe Mortaza delivery, leaving India at 46/2.
Rohit and Dinesh Karthik then tried to put things in control as they took their side near the three-digit mark. But, just when the Indian skipper was two runs away from his half-century, Rubel Hossain handed another jolt to the opponents, dismissing a good-looking Rohit to leave the Men in Blue reeling at 83/3.
Karthik was then joined by MS Dhoni and they rebuilt the innings with a 55-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Just when the partnership was getting threatening, off-spinner Mahmudullah struck to add another twist in the tale, packing off Karthik (37) as India's scorecard read 137/4.
Mustafizur Rahman put India in deep trouble when he dismissed MS Dhoni for 36 runs, a few overs later.
Dhoni's thick edge off the bat landed in the gloves of Mushfiqur Rahim in the 37th over before Jadhav left the field due to an injury with India still 56 runs away from victory.
Jadeja and Bhuvaneshwar's sensible stand then not only gave India a hope but also inched their side on the doors of victory.
However, with India just 11 runs away from their seventh Asia Cup title, Jadeja (23) fell to Hossain in the 48th over. His dismissal saw Jadhav making his way to the pitch once again.
The match tilted in Bangladesh's favour as Bhuvneshwar, while trying to drive a delivery by Mustafizur Rahman, was caught brilliantly by stumper Rahim.
Denying the opponents any further onslaught, Jadhav (23) and Kedar (5) guided India home in a match which went to the final ball.
For Bangladesh, Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain picked two wickets each while Nazmul, Mortaza and Mahmudullah bagged one wicket apiece.
Earlier, opener Liton Das' brilliant century had helped Bangladesh post 222. Bangladesh got off to a flying start but lack of support from the middle and lower order batsmen and some brilliant fielding from Indian players saw Bangladesh only managing to score a modest total.
Das played 117 balls and slammed 121 runs which included 12 boundaries and two sixes and built a perfect platform for a big score but some poor shot selection from other batsmen cost the Bangladesh camp.
Put in to bat, Das and Mehidy Hasan (32) played handsomely and forged a brilliant 120-run partnership before Hasan was dismissed by Jadhav. The two played sensibly and often thrashed Indian bowlers all around the park.
Unperturbed by the fall of Hasan's wicket, Das kept on playing his natural game but middle-order batsmen Imrul Kayes (2), Mushfiqur Rahim (5), Mohammad Mithun (2) and Mahmudullah (4) failed drastically.
All of them gifted away their wickets, thanks to careless shot selection.
With five batsman back to the pavilion at 151, Das, along with Sarkar (33), tried to reconstruct the innings but was dismissed in the process. Wicket-keeper Dhoni stumped Das off Kuldeep’s bowling in the 40th over.
Sarkar kept playing at the other end but was run out in the penultimate over while trying to increase the run rate. His 45-ball knock was laced with one boundary and one six.
In the very next ball, Jasprit Bumrah clean bowled Hossain (0) to wrap up the innings in style.
For India, Kuldeep scalped three wickets while Jadhav took two wickets.
(With inputs from IANS)