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Another heartbreak as Tigers lose Asia Cup final in last ball

  • Published at 02:39 am September 29th, 2018
Liton
Bangladesh's Liton Das plays a shot during their Asia Cup final against India in Dubai Friday AFP

 For the Tigers, it was a case of so near yet so far once again as they fell short in the Asia Cup final for the third time in four attempts

India clinched a record extending seventh Asia Cup title after edging Bangladesh by three wickets in the very last ball of the final at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the UAE Friday. For the Tigers, it was a case of so near yet so far once again as they fell short in the Asia Cup final for the third time in four attempts.

India required six runs from the last over, bowled by all-rounder Mahmudullah. No 9 batsman Kuldeep Yadav took a single off the first ball before all-rounder Kedar Jadhav changed ends yet again in the next ball.

Yadav then managed a double before Mahmudullah made things interesting by bowling a dot ball. Yadav though gave Jadhav the strike in the penultimate delivery before the latter finished things off courtesy a leg bye. 

At one stage, India were cruising towards the target with captain Rohit Sharma at the crease, but after his departure, the Tigers were right back into the game. Rohit made a 55-ball 48.

After Rohit’s dismissal, wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik (37) and the right-handed MS Dhoni (36) took India to the driving seat as Bangladesh seemed to lack ideas. Karthik and Dhoni added 54 crucial runs for the fourth wicket, but after the fourth-wicket duo were dismissed, the Tigers sniffed a famous victory.

However, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and lower-order batsman Bhuvneshwar Kumar did the repair work, putting on 52 vital runs for the sixth wicket. With that said, the final swung again as seamer Rubel Hossain accounted for the wicket of Jadeja while Bhuvneshwar was dismissed by Mustafizur.

But India held their nerve to seal the regional title after a thriller of a final.

Earlier, a middle-order collapse saw Bangladesh struggle to 222 runs all-out with nine deliveries of their innings still remaining. Bangladesh, after losing the toss made a brilliant start as wicketkeeper-batsman Liton Das and surprise opener Mehedi Hasan Miraz posted 120 runs for the opening stand. 

But as has been the case throughout the tournament, wickets fell in clusters. And this time around, the collapse saw even the senior players Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah lose wickets to poor deliveries, perhaps being overwhelmed by the pressure of the final. 

Liton registered his maiden international century and had given the side a solid start, which the rest of the batting failed to capitalise on. Perhaps the three silly run-outs and over-ambitious shots pulled Bangladesh back from what could have been a big total on the board, given the way the innings had took off.  

Bangladesh had gone to bat taking the opposition by surprise. To end the opening combo struggle, the Tigers had sent late-middle order batsman Miraz to open with Liton and it worked wonders as the duo registered the best start for Bangladesh in the tournament. 

Liton was the aggressor in the partnership as he put on 86 off 66 balls and recorded his maiden ODI half-century in just 33 deliveries. On the other end, Miraz played the role of the anchor to add 32 before perishing in the 21st over and give India the crucial first wicket in the game.

But a probable switch in the captaincy role between Rohit to Dhoni in the 20th over saw India make a drastic comeback from a poor start. 

Liton stood at one end as Bangladesh lost four wickets in the next nine overs, having put on just 31 runs on the board. The left-handed Imrul Kayes, Mushfiq, wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Mithun and Mahmudullah, all walked back to the dressing room scoring single digit.

With the side reeling, Liton and the left-handed Soumya Sarkar stitched together a 37-run stand for the sixth wicket. Liton’s dismissal for 121 off 117 deliveries broke the stand and left Soumya in the middle as the last recognised Bangladesh batsman. 

Top-order batsman Soumya had come out to bat in the middle and added 33 to the score.

Left-arm chinaman Yadav topped the India bowling attack with three wickets conceding 45 in 10 overs.

BRIEF SCORE

India 223/7 (Rohit 48, Dhoni 36) beat Bangladesh (Liton 121, Yadav 3/45) by three wickets