India finally clinched the T20 Asia Cup 2016 title beating host Bangladesh by eight wickets in a rain-hampered 15-over curtailed match at Shere Bangla National Stadium on Sunday night.
A calm chase from Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli helped India make light work of their chase of 121 as they won their sixth Asia Cup title.
Dhawan and Kohli added 94 for the second wicket before MS Dhoni, who had faced all of nine balls leading into the final, quite fittingly, polished off the chase with an unbeaten six-ball 20 as India won with seven balls to spare. Kohli’s credentials in run chases received another fillip as finished unbeaten on 41.
That the match took place was a miracle, given the amount of rain that fell 90 minutes before the start of play. It was a typical spring time thunderstorm that created puddles across the outfield, but the ground was readied in just over an hour after the rain stopped.
Halfway through the protracted game, India were left with scoring at eight runs per over. They were dented in the second over as Rohit Sharma was snaffled by Soumya Sarkar at slip off Al-Amin Hossain as Bangladesh kept things tight upfront.
Dhawan and Kohli took stock of the situation till the fourth over, before wading into newcomer Abu Hider for three fours to kickstart the chase. Shakib gave away 15 runs in the next over, as the pair effortlessly switched gears. Dhawan helped himself to a half-century, even as the Bangladesh bowlers at times tried to do too much, and paid the price. Only Taskin Ahmed stood out with figures of 1 for 14 off three overs.
That Bangladesh got into a position from where they could entertain hopes of a win was largely due to Mahmudullah’s late blitz, an unbeaten 13-ball 33 that took Bangladesh to 120 after a sluggish start. He started with a straight drill off Ashish Nehra before going inside out against Hardik Pandya to start 14th over that was taken for 21. Jasprit Bumrah’s superb last over, off which he conceded just seven, helped India pull it back. Yet, the star of the first half was R Ashwin, who gave away very little in a 15-over bash that was tailor-made for batsmen to tee off.
Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar took a bit of time to suss the situation, but took three more fours off Nehra in the fourth over. But Nehra struck to dismiss Sarkar off the last ball to ensure he has taken a wicket in the Powerplay for the eighth game in a row.
Tamim followed three balls later, trapped plumb in front to Jasprit Bumrah. Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Rahman added 34 runs for the third wicket to briefly lift them, before Shakib top-edged a sweep to short fine leg. He struck three fours in his 16-ball 21.
Mushfiqur Rahim was run out, while Mortaza, who promoted himself to No. 7 holed out to Kohli at deep square leg off the first ball. At 75 for 5, Bangladesh had lost their way and were in danger of finishing with a sub-par totall. But Sabbir broke a 24-ball boundary duck with a nicely timed lap sweep to get them up and running along with Mahmudullah to give the hosts a chance. But on the night, it came as a scant consolation against Dhawan and Kohli, who piloted India home in style.