Tigers win nail-biter against India
Bangladesh prevailed in a game of nerves, exiting the Asia Cup with a narrow six-run win in their final Super Four game over tournament finalists India at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday.
After Shubman Gill's 121 off 133, a late 34-ball 42-run cameo from Axar Patel threatened to take the game away but Bangladesh bowlers managed to stay composed, bundling out India for 259 in 49.5 overs while defending a 266-run target.
Bowling a crucial penultimate over, Mustafizur Rahman, one of the five changes made in the Bangladesh eleven for the game, turned up with the goods for the Tigers. Needing 17 off the last two overs and Patel well-set at one end, India looked to be in the driver's seat.
However, with his trademark cutter, Mustafizur got rid of Shardul Thakur in the very first delivery of the 49th over. The left-arm pacer was hit for a boundary by Patel but went on to dismiss the batter in the very next delivery when he mistimed another one of Mustafizur's cutters and was caught by a running fielder at long-off.
The finishing touches were provided by debutant Tanzid Hasan Sakib, who also initiated proceedings with two crucial breakthroughs to jolt India early in their chase. Sakib bowled three dots on the trot in the final over, ratcheting up the pressure on the tailenders who then needed 12 from three.
Shami managed to hit Sakib for a boundary the following delivery but the young pacer had the last laugh as Shami, forced to run a double to keep the match alive, was made run out in the penultimate delivery as Bangladesh recorded their first-ever victory in Colombo.
Before all the drama unfolded in the last few overs, off-spinner Mahedi Hasan impacted with the crucial wicket of Gill in the 44th over.
It was a promising display of cricket by the Tigers, who only had an 89-run win over Afghanistan in the group stage to show for before yesterday's dead rubber.
Skipper Shakib Al Hasan stepped up and led from the front as he stitched together a 101-run fifth-wicket stand with Towhid Hridoy to provide stability in the middle after a rocky beginning with the bat.
Shakib, who has not been able to play to his full potential throughout the Asia Cup – played as a prelude to the ODI World Cup in India next month – looked to have found his rhythm with the willow. With six fours and three maximums, Shakib scored 80 off 85 deliveries before falling short of his 10th ODI hundred when he played a Shardul delivery onto his stumps in the 34th over.
With Shakib back in the hut, it seemed the Tigers' innings would fizzle out soon, especially after in-form Hridoy holed one out to square leg after a 54-run knock to leave Bangladesh at 193 for seven.
However, Nasum Ahmed came as a surprise package down the order, smashing his career-best 44 off 45, laced with six boundaries and one maximum. His knock was well complemented by unbeaten knocks of 29 and 14 from Mahedi Hasan and debutant Tanzim Hasan Sakib as Bangladesh reached a competitive total of 265 for eight.