Team India clinched their seventh Asia Cup title by defeating Bangladesh by three wickets in a thrilling final in Dubai on Friday.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and opted to field first. The Men in Blue brought back their rested big guns while the Tigers opted for one change, with Nazmul Islam replacing Mominul Haque.
Bangladesh got off to a fabulous start as the opening pair of Liton Das and new opener Mehidy Hasan Miraz built a solid foundation at the top. The Tigers’ opening woes had been a major cause for concern for coach Steve Rhodes in this tournament, but they came good when required, with all Indian bowlers, including the in form Jasprit Bumrah, treated with disdain.
Sharma was forced to turn to Kedar Jadhav to stem the flow of runs, and the part time spinner ended the 120 run opening stand by getting rid of Mehidy for 32.
Mehidy’s wicket brought about a massive collapse for the Tigers. From 120/1 in the 21st over, they lost their way, with the likes of Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun and Mahmudullah Riyad all falling for single digit scores as India’s spinners wrested back control.
Liton, who had been dropped by Chahal earlier in the innings, brought up his maiden 100 and just as he was looking to tee off, was stumped by MS Dhoni in what appeared to be a 50-50 call. Third umpire Rod Tucker however didn’t think so, and Liton was forced to walk back to the pavillion for a well made 121.
At the other hand, Soumya Sarkar tried to get things going, but was run out going for a second, and Bangladesh were unable to even play out their full quota of overs- they were bowled out for 222 in 48.3
Left arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav was India’s best bowler with figures of 3/45 in 10 overs, whereas Jadhav claimed 2 wickets.
Chasing a modest target of 223, India’s reliable opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma started briskly by adding 35 runs, before the former was dismissed for 15 runs by Nazmul.
Ambati Rayudu soon followed for 2 runs after being caught behind by Rahim off Mashrafe Mortaza.
Indian skipper Sharma along with Dinesh Karthik steadied the ship by adding 37 runs, before the former fell to Rubel Hossain’s short ball, caught by Nazmul on the boundary as India were reduced to 83/3.
Karthik then added a valuable 54 run stand with Mahendra Singh Dhoni before the Tamil Nadu star missed a full toss and was dismissed LBW.
Dhoni soldiered on, but Karthik and he had eaten up a fair number of deliveries, and when the Indian wicketkeeper was dismissed, Bangladesh were back in the game, with India needing close to 5 an over on a slow wicket with their key batsmen back in the hut.
The Tigers’ hopes were raised when Kedar Jadhav was forced to hobble off with a hamstring injury, but Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar showed great composure, stitching together a valuable 45 run stand for the seventh wicket to take India close to the target.
The duo’s dismissals again left the game on a knife’s edge, but the returning Jadhav hobbled as best as his leg would allow him, and managed to take India to victory on the final ball of the innings. With Mehidy not having the best of the days with the ball and Mustafizur and Rubel having bowled out, Mashrafe had to turn to a part timer for the final over. He first chose Soumya Sarkar, who had bowled the last over in the Nidahas Trophy final, but then turned to Mahmudullah. India needed 6 to get, and managed it in ones and twos despite Bangladesh’s best efforts.
For Bangladesh, Mustafizur and Rubel Hossain bagged two wickets each.
With no one bar Liton Das crossing 50 across both teams, the Bangladesh opener was named Man of the match, while his Indian counterpart Shikhar Dhawan was awarded the Man of the series.