India's Hardik Pandya jumps to celebrate India's win against Bangladesh in the ICC World Twenty20 2016 cricket match in Bangalore (Photo: AP)
Bengaluru: Seemingly out for the count after two defeats, Bangladesh almost pulled off a stunner, but Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s bold decision to use the brave Hardik Pandya in the last over saw India snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
A big gamble translated into a nerve-wracking, nail-biting victory but a delightful one for the sell-out crowd at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium as India tantalisingly won by the narrowest of margins — one run.
For all that Bangladesh did through the match, they couldn’t get the one run to get past the line as the visitors, chasing India’s 146 for seven and well within reach requiring 11 off the last six balls, ended up at 145 for eight.
Dhoni’s captaincy was brilliant and Pandya justified the faith snaring two wickets in the final over and restrict the over-the-top Bangladeshis. In a heart-stopping win, Dhoni’s run out of Mustafizur Rahman to the last ball as he sprinted from behind the stumps will become part of folklore.
In the evening, for the third straight time, the Men in Blue couldn’t flex their batting muscles as a spongy turf and a combination of alacrity and athleticism by the Bangladesh fielders ensured the hosts stayed below the 150-mark. In turn, the Indians were profligate as millionaires in the field and almost paid the penalty.
With every game being a knockout at this stage, India sent into by Mashrafe Mortaza appeared to be lively for the first half hour or so before some rash strokes and a feisty mix of disciplined bowling and extremely good fielding by the visitors pegged them back. Not a par score and not a score the Bengalureans are used to. Yet, it was in keeping with the low totals on this pitch for the third match running.
Notwithstanding the early loss of opener Md Mithun, maverick left-hander Tamim Iqbal (35, 32b) making the most of a reprieve by Jasprit Bumrah on 15, and Sabbir Rahman (26, 15b) plundered the Indian attack.
The 44-run (32b) partnership between the two fired them as Bangladesh raced away to 55/1 in the eighth over before Tamim was stumped by Dhoni off Ravindra Jadeja. The Indian spinners bowled beautifully with R. Ashwin being splendid and Jadeja keeping it tight and the pressure showed on the visitors.
India’s victory strengthened their semifinal chances of joining leaders New Zealand though Sunday’s game against Australia will probably decide that even as Bangla crashed to their third defeat.
Having said that, the Indians had only themselves to blame for the low total. To slip from 95/2 in the 14th over to 117/6 in the 17th showed them in poor light, without taking any credit away from the Tigers, who came at them full tilt.
The Indian opener Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan got off to a good start, putting on 42 even as Mortaza opted to strangely try out five bowlers in the first five overs of the innings.
Dhawan’s approach was clear: hit out of trouble. It worked while it worked, albeit briefly. Rohit set the tone with a big six of Mustafizur Rahman over long-off.
Dhawan then lost his concentration immediately and was trapped by left-arm spinner Shakib Al-Hasan. It set the stage for the best partnership for the hosts as Suresh Raina (30) and a subdued Kohli (24) added 50 (40b) for the third wicket. A rush of blood did Kohli in after hoisting offie Shuvagata Hom over deep mid-wicket for his only big hit.
A middle-order slump then ensued as Raina fell after two glorious sixes; a promoted Pandya was shocked by Soumya Sarkar’s sensational effort in the deep and Yuvraj fell to an indecisive one. It left the bowlers with little to defend and too much to achieve. But Dhoni and his game-plan in Pandya scripted a memorable win.
India: R. Sharma c Sabbir Rahman b Mustafizur Rahman 18, S. Dhawan lbw b Shakib Al Hasan 23, V. Kohli b Shuvagata 24, S. Raina c Sabbir Rahman b Al-Amin Hossain 30, H. Pandya c Soumya Sarkar b Al-Amin Hossain 15, MS Dhoni (not out) 13, Yuvraj Singh c Al-Amin Hossain b Mahmudullah 3, R. Jadeja b Mustafizur Rahman 12, R. Ashwin (not out) 5. Extras (lb 2, w 1) 3. Total (for seven wickets in 20 overs) 146.
FoW: 1-42, 2-45, 3-95, 4-112, 5-112, 6-117, 7-137.
Bowling: Mortaza 4-0-22-0, Shuvagata 3-0-24-1, Al-Amin 4-0-37-2, Mustafizur 4-0-34-2, Shakib 4-0-23-1, Mahmudullah 1-0-4-1.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal st Dhoni b Jadeja 35, Mohammad Mithun c Pandya b Ashwin 1, Sabbir Rahman st Dhoni b Raina 26, Shakib Al Hasan c Raina b Ashwin 22, Mashrafe Mortaza b Jadeja 6, Mahmudullah c Jadeja b Pandya 18, Soumya Sarkar c Kohli b Nehra 21, Mushfiqur Rahim c Dhawan b Pandya 11, Shuvagata Hom not out 0. Mustafizur Rahman run out 0. Extras (lb-4, w-1) 5. Total (9 wickets; 20 overs) 145.
FoW: 1-11, 2-55, 3-69, 4-87, 5-95, 6-126, 7-145, 8-145, 9-145.
Bowling: A. Nehra 4-0-29-1, J. Bumrah 4-0-32-0, R. Ashwin 4-0-20-2, R. Jadeja 4-0-22-2, H. Pandya 3-0-29-2, S. Raina 1-0-9-1