Rohit Sharma‘s men clinched victory by four wickets while chasing a target of 167 runs to break Bangladesh hearts. The match seemed all but lost when wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik walked in with 34 needed from 12 balls. He smashed an unbeaten 29 from just eight balls, including a six off the last ball with five needed to win, as India pulled off an improbable win.
Here we look at the key talking points of the match which had it all.
WASHINGTON SUNDAR IMPRESSES AGAIN
The young all-rounder is the biggest positive for India apart from the tournament win. Rohit Sharma has shown faith in his off-spin during the powerplay overs and time and again, Sundar has delivered.
On Sunday, he put the brakes on Bangladesh openers’ scoring rate with clever variations in pace. He dismissed Litton Das and then ran through his overs quickly. By the time he had finished his third, he had only gone for 10 runs.
He has made the most of the absence of Kuldeep Yadav in this series and will give Virat Kohli plenty of options in the future.
Biggest gain for India already – tho the TriSeries is incomplete – is Washington Sundar. He’s just been so bloody good!
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) March 14, 2018
INDIA’S PACERS BLEED RUNS
With India’s spinners on top along with a couple of crazy run-outs, Bangladesh’s prospects of reaching a big total looked bleak. However Sabbir Rahman played a blinder (77 off 50) as India’s pacers bore the brunt in the death overs.
Vijay Shankar (0-48) and Shardul Thakur (0-45) took the maximum punishment, with the two going for nearly 100 in eight overs. In all, 84 came off the last eight overs as Bangladesh finished on a strong note with a fighting total of 166. Their wayward final overs could have cost them the title if not for Karthik’s sensational innings.
— Shiva Kumar Mishra (@skmkol) March 18, 2018
MUSTAFIZUR SHOWS DEATH-OVERS PROWESS
After Rohit Sharma’s flying fifty, Bangladesh clawed their way back into the game and inched ahead with wickets at crucial moments. With 35 needed off the final 18 deliveries of the match, it was anybody’s game.
Mustafizur Rahman then almost sealed the deal as he brought out his famous cutters in his fourth over. He beat Shankar four times in a row to start the over as the batsman had no answer to the death-over specialist’s variations. Shankar did manage to get off strike in the fifth delivery but Manish Pandey could only hole out to long-on in the final ball to complete a dream over for Mustafizur.
Just one leg bye and a wicket at that stage of a T20 final is almost unheard of.
18th over of a T20 International final vs India. 4 dot balls. 1 leg bye. 1 wicket.
Mustafizur Rahman. Brilliant.
India require 34 runs from 12 deliveries.
— Naim (@MourinhoEsquee) March 18, 2018
DINESH KARTHIK’S CAMEO WINS IT FOR INDIA
With 34 runs needed in two overs, Bangladesh were within touching distance of the Nidahas Trophy when Dinesh Karthik came out all guns blazing.
The wicket-keeper batsman smashed two sixes and as many boundaries as he collected 22 runs off the penultimate over of the match off Rubel Hossain. The equation came down to five needed off the final delivery with Karthik on strike and he planted a huge six over cover off Soumya Sarkar as the Indian dressing room broke into ecstatic celebrations.
With regular keeper MS Dhoni’s death over batting skills losing its edge, Karthik will surely be on the selectors’ mind moving forward.
— Mitchell McClenaghan (@Mitch_Savage) March 18, 2018
On a new pitch in Colombo that had more bounce than usual, Chahal gave his best performance of the tournament.
Chahal (3-18) and Washington Sundar (1-20) giving hardly anything away in their spell of four overs each. Here we analyse the performance of the leg-spinner in the final against Bangladesh.
OVERS BOWLED: 4
RUNS CONCEDED: 18
The leg-spinner is India’s best wicket-taking option on most pitches. In Colombo, Chahal backed his strengths by tossing the ball up. He got three top Bangladesh wickets – Tamim Iqbal (caught at long on), Soumya Sarkar (caught sweeping) and Mushfiqur Rahim (leading edge off a top spinner-cum-googly). His career economy rate is very high – 8.1 – but on Sunday he dried up the scoring to complete a dream spell when it really mattered – in the final.
Bowled slow through the air, didn’t lose his line and struck twice in his first over. Rohit Sharma couldn’t possibly have asked for more from his wrist spinner. Chahal is now an experienced campaigner in T20 cricket and showed his maturity at a crucial juncture – first innings of a final.
Hardly anything. Bowled nine dot balls, gave away just one boundary and took three wickets. A near perfect bowling effort in a T20 final from a wrist-spinner. If anything, could have bowled more googlies but that’s just nitpicking.
Bowlers hardly get any time to settle in a T20 match. A quiet opening over is what most bowlers look for. But Chahal struck twice in his first, getting rid of Iqbal and Sarkar. That put the pressure back on Bangladesh and allowed Chahal to bowl at the pace and trajectory he wanted as the Tigers concentrated on not losing more wickets.
Wrist spinners don’t have to spear every ball in at 100kph in T20 cricket. Chahal wasn’t afraid to toss the ball up to the eyeline of the batsman and plant a seed of doubt in the mind of every Bangladeshi. His leg spinners, googlies and top spinners did just about enough to produce false strokes. And that’s all you need in T20s.
NOT AFRAID OF NEWISH BALL
Chahal bowled around the fifth over mark in the last two games. He was into the attack in the fifth over of the Bangladesh innings and struck immediately on a wicket that had more bounce than other pitches in the T20 tri-series. The new ball, if used well, can aid spinners and Chahal did just that.
TAMING THE TIGERS
In the two previous games against Bangladesh, Chahal had figures of 1-21 and 1-19. That showed Bangladesh were finding it difficult to score off him. Not only did he keep the scoring rate down in the final, his three wickets ensured Bangladesh could only look to play him out. Finished with eight wickets from five matches in the tournament at an economy of 6.4.
What more do you need? Chahal kept the runs down and took wickets, making up for the lacklustre effort from seamers Shardul Thakur (0-45) and Vijay Shankar (0-48). Top effort.
According to the CoA chief, Dhoni remains indispensable in India’s limited-overs setup and will continue to do so for some time.
“Their camaraderie is exceptional with so much mutual respect. Virat respects Dhoni’s cricketing acumen and Dhoni respects what Virat is achieving as a player,” Rai was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India on Sunday.
Dhoni has been a constant in India’s limited-overs setup after retiring from Tests in 2014. Lately though, questions have been asked about his waning batting power with a few voices advocating finding a replacement.
However, according to Rai, Dhoni’s spot in the team is safe.
“In fact, Virat has told the CoA why he thinks Dhoni is irreplaceable in the limited overs set up as of now,” Rai said.
“Virat feels that there are no faster pair of gloves than MS Dhoni today. Also, Dhoni’s cricketing mind honed over so many years is an asset for Virat. As far as how many years of cricket is left in him, time and his performance will tell,” he added.
Both players are currently resting following India’s highly successful tour of South Africa. The Indian team is currently participating in the Nidahas T20I tri-series in Sri Lanka.