‘I believed that I would bowl the perfect yorker’
Despite not being in the running for the final, Bangladesh ended their Asia Cup on a high by beating India in a tight Super Four game in Colombo's R Premadasa Stadium on Friday.
After Shakib Al Hasan's 80 rebuilt the innings, the Tigers needed to overcome a compact Shubman Gill ton as some pride was restored. Youngster Tanzim Hasan Sakib, making his debut, got the new ball talking in a way which should keep selectors on their toes while his cool effort in the final over ensured a six-run win – Tigers' second in the Asia Cup history against India.
Earlier, skipper Shakib and Tawhid Hridoy's 101-run fifth-wicket stand, turned things around after early collapse. Nasum Ahmed and Sheikh Mahedi made important contributions with the bat in the lower middle-order as the score climbed to 265.
On his debut, the 20-year-old Sakib, removed Rohit Sharma in just the second delivery of the innings. Even the confident and in-form Gill had to persevere during Sakib's spell. In his next over, Sakib took the top of Tilak Varma's off-stump with one that moved in after pitching, with the batter leaving the delivery alone only to find himself castled. The youngster bowled six overs on the trot with the new ball, giving away just 15 runs.
"Rohit bhai was my dream wicket, my debut wicket. I just concentrated on line and length and maintained it and that's how I got the early success. I am always prepared for bowling longer spells when my team needs me. I am always ready to bowl," he said at the post-match ceremony.
Despite being taken for 12 runs in the 39th over by Gill, Sakib was entrusted to bowl the last over with India requiring 12. He mixed his deliveries and then bowled a yorker in the penultimate delivery where a run-out secured the win.
"That ball, I was once again thinking of the bowlers but it was very tight with two balls and eight runs. So I went for the yorker. I believed that I would bowl the perfect yorker and that's what happened," Sakib added on his death over bowling performance.
It was not just Sakib but also Mustafizur Rahman's death bowling that came to the Tigers' rescue. The left-arm paceman saw the back of dangerous Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, bagging three for 50 in eight overs.
Yet, with just two pacers in the armoury, the Tigers' spin attack had to do the bulk of the bowling. Shakib himself was economical and effective, also bagging Suryakumar Yadav's scalp while Mahedi and Mehedi Hasan Miraz took crucial wickets.
"After the last couple of games here, we thought spinners will do well," Shakib said after the match.
Mahedi had given the important breakthrough earlier with KL Rahul's wicket before his death over efforts kept things tight while also removing Gill after a 133-ball 122 that really put the pressure on India. With the World Cup to come, the win should serve as a morale-boosting one.
"A lot of players are injured and some going in and out, that didn't help us. I think we will be a dangerous side in the World Cup," Shakib said.