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Gallant Tigers suffer last-ball heartbreak

  • Published at 01:33 am March 19th, 2018
Gallant Tigers suffer last-ball heartbreak
Bangladesh were once again denied from lifting a multi-nation cup after India’s wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik hit a six off the last ball of the chase when five runs were required. The former world champion blasted into celebration after sealing the game by four wickets while occasional Bangladesh right-arm seamer Soumya Sarkar crashed to the ground disappointed having failed to defend 12 runs in the final over. The world witnessed Bangladesh’s fifth multi-nation final loss at R Premadasa Cricket Stadium in Colombo, and the second against India since the Asia Cup T20I 2016 decider in Dhaka. Bangladesh, despite makeshift captain Rohit Sharma’s 42-ball 56, had the game under control. Defending 167, the Tigers went into the final five overs with India needing 52 with six wickets in hand. Left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman gave away eight in the 16th over while Soumya conceded nine in the 17th with middle-order batsmen Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar struggling to make contact. In the 18th over, Mustafizur cornered the Indian batters, giving away only one run and removing Pandey in the last ball to bring in Karthik to the crease. Karthik making his 19th appearance for India faced pacer Rubel Hossain. Bangladesh skipper Shakib al Hasan had to count on the right-arm pacer, after all, he had conceded only 13 in his first three overs. But Karthik was there to make the difference, hammering two maximums and as many boundaries to fetch India 22 from the over. With two right-handed batsmen in the middle, Shakib thought Soumya to be the best option, and not spinners Mahmudullah and Mehedi Hasan Miraz. In the first three balls, Soumya had a struggling Shankar on strike and had given away three runs in the first three deliveries – one coming from a wide and two from singles. Shankar slashed a boundary off the fourth ball only to get dismissed in the very next delivery. The India batsman had intended for a maximum only to get caught near long on. Crucially though, Karthik was on strike. Soumya in the last ball needed to defend five runs but the widish delivery was sent over the boundary rope by Karthik, who ended scoring an unbeaten 29 off just eight deliveries. Earlier, riding on No 3 batsman Sabbir Rahman’s fourth T20I half-century, Bangladesh posted 166 runs for the loss of eight wickets after being asked to bat first. Bangladesh had made it to the final boosted with a fabulous win against host Sri Lanka less than 48 hours ago. However, the Tigers this time around failed to start smoothly. The turnout at R Premadasa was surprisingly good and as predicted, the home crowd supported India, given the recent controversies between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The two Bangladesh openers Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das got 26 runs in the first three overs when the latter was dismissed trying to sweep spinner Washington Sundar in the second ball of the fourth over. Bangladesh lost two more wickets – Tamim for 15 and the out of form Soumya for a dreadful one – with one more over remaining in the powerplay. However, Sabbir stood tall, and partnered with wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim to add 35 for the fourth wicket. In-form Mushfiq failed to make an impact, scoring nine before being removed by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the 11th over. From there, Sabbir added 36 with Mahmudullah before the former made a crucial blunder. The duo were working well rebuilding the innings until Mahmudullah, on strike, was beaten by the ball in the 15th over as it touched his pads and went to Karthik. Before Mahmudullah could realise, Sabbir from the non-striker’s end had gunned for a single only to see a puzzled Mahmudullah caught short of the crease. Last match’s hero Mahmudullah added 21 off 16 to the board. The incident however, did not shake Sabbir’s confidence. Despite losing captain Shakib al Hasan (seven) to another run out, Sabbir went on to add 77 to the tally off 50 deliveries with seven boundaries and four over boundaries. India pacer Jaydev Unadkat removed Sabbir in the 19th over, and also lower-order batsman Rubel, as the Tigers were batting on 148/8. In the final over, Bangladesh still had Miraz. The right-handed batsman faced all the deliveries in the 20th over with No 10 batsman Mustafizur at the other end. Miraz scored 18 off seamer Shardul Thakur with a couple of fours, a six and two doubles to take Bangladesh to 166/8 after 20 overs. Miraz was unbeaten on 19 off seven balls. Chahal topped the India bowling attack with three scalps. BRIEF SCORE India 168/6 (Rohit 56, Karthik 29) beat Bangladesh 166/8 (Sabbir 77, Chahal 3/18) by four wickets