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Asia Cup 2018: India beat Bangladesh in last ball thriller to lift seventh title

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It was fitting that a tournament that started with an injured player winning hearts by walking out to bat also ended with an injured batsman hitting the winning runs. India beat Bangladesh by three wickets in a last-ball thriller in Dubai on Friday.

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A fortnight ago, Tamim Iqbal had walked out to a standing ovation with a broken wrist against Sri Lanka. It was a winning moment for his captain Mashrafe Mortaza – one he says had already won them the Asia Cup – Mortaza couldn’t lift it tonight, because it was another injured player, who did it – hit the winning runs – for India.

India still needed 56 runs from 11 overs and with five wickets remaining when Jadhav was forced to leave the field with a hamstring injury. He returned with India reeling at 212-6, still short by 11 runs with 16 balls remaining. He has done it before and so you’d expect Jadhav to deal in boundaries but antithetically he takes singles – eventually taking one more to see India home and lift their seventh Asia Cup title.

Jadhav was calm and composed, never letting the nerves of a big final get to him – this was when he was batting in the final over with six runs to get from six balls – it was the same when he came on to bowl in the 21st over, with Bangladesh off to its best start having already added 120 for the opening wicket. Liton Das was looking good for a century – he would eventually get one – while Mehidy Hasan played a perfect second fiddle.

Asia Cup 2018 final India beat Bangladesh
Kedar Jadhav kept his calm to carry India home to its seventh Asia Cup title despite suffering a hamstring injury.

But there is a reason on why they call Jadhav, the man with a golden arm, and it is for that very reason that when opposite batsman go bonkers, the captain looks out for him. Jadhav struck in only his fifth ball of the innings, sending back Hasan and shooting the first bullet that would eventually kill Bangladesh’s promising innings to death.

Also Read: Injured Shakib flies back home, to miss Asia Cup final

It triggered a downfall, a landslide that from 120 for no loss ended Bangladesh’s innings for 222, the final 10 wickets falling for 102 runs in 28 overs.

Das though held on one end getting to his century off just 87 balls. It was his maiden ODI century and made him the first ever Bangladeshi player to score a century in a tournament final.  He would go on to make 121 from 117 balls that included 12 boundaries and two sixes.

But his sole battle proved to be futile as the Indian spinners weaved their magic in and around the other batsmen. Yuzi Chahal dismissed Imrul Kayes before Jadhav came back to send the danger-man Mushfiqur Rahim back, both out for single digit scores. A mix-up following a brilliant fielding by Ravindra Jadeja saw Mohammad Mithun depart, while Mahmudullah holed one to cover. In no time Bangladesh were reduced to 151-5 and although Soumya Sarkar joined Das for a 37-run partnership, the centurion’s stay ended with a brilliant stumping by MS Dhoni.

The score seemed too little to defend against the mighty Indian batting but the Tigers won’t go down without a fight. They chipped in with regular wickets to stay in the hunt. Indian skipper Rohit Sharma was the top scorer with a 48, while Dinesh Karthik and Dhoni chipped in with 37 and 36 respectively. But Bangladesh led by Rubel Hossain (10-26-2) and Mustafizur Rahman (10-38-2) ensured the game went long into the night, where both sides had their chance to win the title.

Bangladesh could have done it for the very first time, but India rode on to their experience to life their seventh Asiad title. Yet, the Tigers go home knowing this was the best and the closest they had come in lifting their maiden major trophy.

Image Credit – NDTV Sports

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