Another thriller and India wins the Asia Cup

By Kersi Meher-Homji

In yet another cliff-hanger, India beat Bangladesh by three wickets off the last ball to lift the Asia Cup for a record sixth time.

In the Final at Dubai last night at Dubai, Bangladesh started well as openers Liton Dias and Mohindy Hasan Miraz put on 120 runs. But then they lost nine wickets quickly to be all out for 222. Liton Dias played a lone hand, scoring an aggressive 121 with12 fours and two sixes, and was the worthy Man of the Match.

The successful bowlers for India were spinners Kuldeep Yadav (3 for 45) and Kedar Jadav (2 for 41).

Indian batsmen also struggled despite skipper opener Rohit Sharma’s 48. Their seventh wicket fell at 214 in the 49th over and India needed nine runs to win off 11 balls. This brought an injured Kedar and Kuldeep together. Yadav took a single off the last ball of the match and India won by three wickets.

What a match, the result in doubt till the final delivery. Both teams deserve high praise. Two days ago Bangladesh had defeated Pakistan in the semi-final and came very close to beating India in the exciting Final.

This match had many similarities with India’s semi-final clash against Afghanistan at Dubai on Tuesday.

The hero for Afghanistan was their opening batsman Mohammad Shahzad who scored an electrifying 124 off 116 balls, hitting 11 fours and seven sixes.  Wickets toppling at the other end did not worry him. In fact it brought the best out of him. The first four wickets fell for 82, his contribution was 72 as the other four contributed only 5, 3, 0 and 0.

Afghanistan totalled 8 for 252.

India began well with openers Lokesh Rahul and Ambati Rayudu putting on 110 runs. But the gallant Afghans did not give in.

India was 9 for 247 needing six runs from the final over from 20 year-old leg-spinner Rashid Khan. He conceded only five runs in four balls.

Now with only one run needed off two balls for a win, experienced and aggressive Indian batsman Ravindra Jadeja lost his cool and slapped a rank half-tracker into the lap of Najibullah Zadran at deep midwicket – the only man in the deep on the leg side. A game of extremely fine margins resulted in the 36th tie in 4046 One Day Internationals.

India’s dynamic opener Shikhar Dhawan was the popular Man of the 2018 Asia Cup. He said at the presentation, “Really enjoyed this tournament. Fantastic final, and really good tournament for myself. Enjoyed my batting and want to continue this way. England tour has helped me become mature, and I was playing more balanced in this tournament. Want to remain consistent. Helps to have Rohit as the partner. His consistency at the top matters for me as well. He plays the aggressor’s role, sometimes I do. And he too had a great Asia Cup.”

Inaugurated in 1983-84 in United Arab Emirates, India was the first winner of the Asia Cup. Since then they have been held in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

India has won the Asia Cup six times, Sri Lanka five times and Pakistan twice.

 

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