Asia Cup final: All-round India earn A in thrilling win, Liton Das' century in vain

Ajit Vijaykumar 00:14 29/09/2018
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Kedar Jadhav (r) picked up two key top-order wickets.

India clinched the Asia Cup 2018 title after a thrilling three-wicket win off the final ball over Bangladesh in Dubai on Friday.

Captain Rohit Sharma hit a fine 48 while there were key contributions throughout the line-up with MS Dhoni (36 from 67) and Dinesh Karthik (37 from 61) taking their time in what was ultimately a tense win chasing 223 for victory. Ravindra Jadeja kept his cool in the death overs as he hit 23.

Kedar Jadhav got injured but returned after the fall of Jadeja’s wicket to see his team home with one needed off the last ball. Jadhav managed a leg bye off the bowling of Mahmudullah to clinch the title.

Bangladesh’s total of 222 was made possible by a splendid maiden century by Liton Das, who made 121 from 117 balls.

The Tigers surprised everyone with their opening partnership between Das and off-spinner Mehidy Hasan.

And it worked even better than the most ardent of Bangladeshi supporters would have hoped for. The two added 120 for the opening stand with Das taking up the role of the aggressor while the supposed pinch-hitter Hasan struggled, scoring 32 from 59 balls.

But the introduction of part-time spinner Kedar Jadhav (2-41 from nine overs) changed the course of the match, as has happened previously, as he picked up the wickets of Hasan and batting mainstay Mushfiqur Rahim (5) as the Tigers’ middle-order imploded to 139-4.

Das recorded his first 50-plus score in ODIs in his 18th match, going on to register a superb 121 from 117 balls. The next highest score was 33 from Soumya Sarkar as India picked up 10 wickets for 102 runs.

Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav (3-45) was the other main wicket-taker while Bangladesh lost three wickets to run-outs, as they let the pressure of the final get to them.

In the chase, India attacked from the first over but lost the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu before the total reached 50. However, regular contributions from the entire line-up saw them past the finish line.

THE GOOD

Das scored his maiden ODI century.

Das scored his maiden ODI century.

Das shows his class – Opener Das hadn’t scored a single fifty in 17 previous ODI innings. Plus, he was opening with a spinner in the final of a major tournament. But, the 23-year-old chose the perfect platform to show he can be a long-term top-order prospect as he hit 12 fours and two sixes during his 117-ball 121. More importantly, he didn’t let his scoring rate drop even as the batting around him collapsed.

India’s fielding – How a team field in a big match shows how ready they are mentally. And looking at Bangladesh’s first innings, India were at the top of their game. They got the wicket of in-form batsman Mohammad Mithun, Soumya Sarkar and Nazmul Islam through run-outs while Jasprit Bumrah judged Mahmudullah’s catch brilliantly in the deep. It was a delight to watch a good fielding display work like clockwork.

THE BAD

Bangladesh’s overs from 20 to 35 – Even after Bangladesh lost their first wicket in the 21st over, there was a possibility of the Tigers posting a big total. But from 120-1 in the 21st over, Bangladesh slumped to 160-5 after 35. Even four and a half runs an over in the middle period would have set the stage for a late onslaught. But they allowed the Men in Blue’s spinners and fielders to dictate terms and lost 10 wickets for 102 runs.

Dhawan’s rush of blood – Opener Shikhar Dhawan had just smashed spinner Nazmul for a six and a four in the fifth over. India were well on their way but the left-hander went for one shot too many and sliced the ball to mid on. There was simply no need for it but Dhawan went after the bowler nonetheless and paid the ultimate price for it.

KEY MOMENTS

Bangladesh innings

27.6 overs Mithun run-out – Das drove Yuzvendra Chahal to cover where Ravindra Jadeja dived brilliantly to stop the ball, get in position in the blink of an eye and throw the ball to the non-striker’s end. Das and Mithun were stranded at the same end as the bails were dislodged at the other and it was Mithun who had to walk off.

Kuldeep Yadav picked up three wickets.

Kuldeep Yadav picked up three wickets.

33.2 Mahmudullah out – The Tigers were 150-4 in 32 overs when Mahmudullah decided to slog sweep Kuldeep towards deep mid-wicket. However, Bumrah made good ground and pouched a good catch as Tigers lost half their side.

India innings

32.2 Jadhav’s six – India were slowing down a bit. Jadhav forced some life into the innings by jumping down to Mahmudullah and depositing him for a six. That blow put India back on track.

49.5 Kuldeep’s single – Kuldeep took the crucial single off Mahmudullah which brought Jadhav back on strike and facilitated the win.

KEY TURNING MOMENT

Das’ stumping

Das was well set after scoring his maiden century when he got deceived by Kuldeep’s googly. Dhoni completed a quick stumping. The third umpire took a long time to decide whether some part of the foot was behind the crease. On any other day, Das could have received the benefit of doubt as it was extremely close. But the umpire gave him out.

VERDICT

India A

India did extremely well to fight back after the first 20 overs when they failed to pick up a wicket. From staring at a total of around 300, India picked up 10 wickets for 102. In the chase, they lost two batsmen early on but did not lose their cool. No batsman scored a fifty but they still chased down 223. Job well done.

Bangladesh B+

The Tigers had a centurion in their ranks and they fought right until the end. But they should have easily scored more than 270 after being 120 for no loss in the 21st over. They didn’t cash in and India always remained ahead of them for the rest of the match. Three run-outs also showed they were not in control of their game.

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