Dubai: India crept home in the final-over thriller against Bangladesh to clinch the 7th Asia Cup title, for the second time in succession, here on Friday.
Earlier, Bangladesh openers Liton Das and Mehidy Hasan shared a 120-run stand for the opening wicket, which helped the Tigers to set a target of 223-runs, but three wickets from Kuldeep Yadav, two from Kedar Jadhav, and three run outs had perhaps made them slight favourites, especially considering their batting firepower.
For India, Dhawan dismissed first for 15, toe-ending a drive off Nazmul Islam to Soumya Sarkar, and Sharma for 48, striking a pull of Rubel Hossain cleanly but straight into the hands of deep square.
With Ambati Rayudu having fallen in the interim for 2, nicking off to Mashrafe Mortaza, India found themselves 83/3, and under true pressure for perhaps the first time in the tournament, having previously only struggled in dead rubbers.
What followed was a proper scrap, a to-and-fro in which the advantage swapped hands regularly, with India only stretching clear right at the last. India relied on contributions and cameos rather than one player to see them home and there were seven scores between 15 and 50 in their top eight.
Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni added 54 before the former missed a full toss from Mahmudullah and was given LBW, and Dhoni fell soon after, edging behind for a turgid 67-ball 36. Jadhav looked fluent, but having bowled nine overs succumbed to cramp and retired hurt.
He reemerged at the fall of Ravindra Jadeja's wicket, the all-rounder and Bhuvneshwar Kumar having added 45 mostly in singles. At last, the magnificent final was decided, Jadhav missing a leg-side flick but running a leg bye regardless.
On the other hand, though Hasan didn't contribute much, but he remained at the crease and didn't let Indian bowlers put pressure on their batting order. Hasan scored 32-runs off 59 balls.
Kedar Jadhav gave India the crucial breakthrough. He dismissed Hasan on a score of 32 runs. He was caught by Ambati Rayudu at covers. With this, the massive 120-run opening stand between Hasan and Das came to an end.
Bangladesh were on 120-1 after 20.5 overs.
After the opening partnership came to an end, none of the Bangladesh batsman was able to score more than 10-runs, as they were sent to pavilion one after another.
Soumya Sarkar managed to spend some time at the crease and struck a couple of boundaries. Sarkar hit Jasprit Jumrah to point region, picked up a single and Bangladesh reached 200-run in 44.1 overs.
Nazmul Islam went for a crazy single. Sarkar sent him back, but there was no way Islam would have made it. Substitute fielder Manish Pandey ran towards the stumps and dislodged the bails with ease. Sarkar was dismissed on a score of 33-runs off 45-balls.
Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Nazmul Islam and Mustafizur Rahman, all of them were sent to pavilion, on a single digit score.
Kuldeep Yadav took three wickets, Kedar Jadhav took two wickets, while Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah took one wicket each.(UNI)