India clinch last-ball thriller

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Now, what if Australia beat India?
Desperate Aussies won’t really offer India what suicidal Bangladesh did.
Barring Kohli none of the other batsmen have shown the right instincts so far”][vc_single_image image=”61909″ img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]BENGALURU (TIP): India got out of jail in a final-ball humdinger of a game at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday, March 23, defeating Bangladesh by a solitary run to keep their World Twenty20 campaign alive. Bangladesh appeared to have done everything right on the night and seemed destined to deal the hosts and pre-tournament favorites, a hammer blow, before freezing at the most critical time to hand India the victory, sending a capacity crowd into delirium.

Bangladesh would reflect on this defeat years from now and wonder how this got away. Chasing 147 on a sticky Bengaluru wicket, they’d capitalized on some shoddy fielding from India to move within 11 runs of victory in the final over. When Mushfiqur Rahim hit boundaries off Hardik Pandya off the second and third balls off the final over, the equation had reduced to a gettable two from three balls before the visitors suffered a collective brain freeze. Rahim and Mahmudullah holed out in the deep going for the glory shot before Shuvagata Hom failed to connect off the final ball, allowing MS Dhoni to scamper through and effect a run out, sparking jubilant celebrations from the men in blue.

India’s defense of a par total hadn’t gotten off to the best of starts, but in Ravichandran Ashwin (2-20) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-22), they had two spinners capable of exploiting the conditions to keep their side in the game, even when all appeared lost. The two bowled out their quota of overs by the 15th over and with Bangladesh poised to chase down the total, Dhoni exhausted overs from his lead pacers, who bowled admirably well to keep the India in the hunt.

There was no place or time for Bumrah to hide. Called on to bowl the next over, the clearly rattled pacer was taken apart for four boundaries, sending the raucous crowd into stunned silence. In his pre-match presser, Shakib had called the top-order to score around 43 runs in the powerplay. Bangladesh had 45 and were on their way. Eventually, after a breezy 44-run stand for the second wicket with Sabbir Rahman, Tamim chanced his luck one time too many and was stumped off Jadeja for 35. An inspirational moment of wicketkeeping from Dhoni gave India the wicket of Sabbir Rahman.

Just when India appeared to be pulling things back, another chance went begging. Shakib, then on 8, sliced a Pandya deliverytowards deep point and although Ashwin had to run in from the fence, he got there with enough time, but the ball evaded his best efforts. Shakib reeled away two more sixes, using the long handle to great effect as the equation reduced to 53 off 50.

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Ashwin gave India hope when he bowled a classical off-spinner to have Shakib caught at slip and had Soumya Sarkar searching for the ball. Sarkar and Mahmudullah then added a composed 34-run stand, but the former fell just on the cusp of victory. Bumrah atoned for his errors with an excellent penultimate over, conceding just the six runs before ice-cool Pandya held his nerve to give India the vital two points.

Earlier, the Indian innings was characterized by spurts of India looking to seize the initiative only to be pulled by an unresponsive pitch and a disciplined Bangladesh bowling performance. Having denied India an opportunity to bat second on what’s now been referred to as the best chasing surface, Mashrafe Mortaza was unwilling to let the Indian openers settle against any particular bowler. It was classic boxing bout with the two teams eager on sizing each other up before landing the first punch. Then the game unraveled in the final over of the powerplay bowled by Mustafizur Rahman.

First, Rohit Sharma obliged growing chants of ‘we want six’ by lofting the seamer over the long-off fence. When the strike was turned over, Dhawan picked a Mustafizur slower one and clubbed it over cow corner. The tide appeared to have turned India’s way before an indiscretion from Rohit (18), who attempted a second glory shot, only to top-edge it to mid-wicket, brought Bangladesh back into the contest.

Raina miscued a pull and Soumya Sarkar pulled off a blinder in the deep to dismiss Pandya and India were suddenly looking at a score around 140, with Mustafizur slated to bowl two of the final four overs. Despite Dhoni and Jadeja’s lower-order efforts, India managed only 34 runs in the final five overs, but on the day the score turned out to be enough, just about.

Brief Scores India 146/7 in 20 overs (Suresh Raina 30, Virat Kohli 24; Mustafizur Rahman 2-34, Al-Amin Hossain 2-37) beat Bangladesh 145/9 in 20 overs (Taim Iqbal 35, Sabbir Rahman 26; Ravichandran Ashwin 2-20, Ravindra Jadeja 2-22) by one run.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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