New Delhi: It was a game that India need to win to book a comfortable place in the final of the Nidahas Trophy. And skipper Rohit Sharma led from the front as he hit 89 to help India post 176/3 in their 20 overs. Coming in to bowl, young Washington Sundar stole the show as he finished with figures of 3/22 as India won the game by 17 runs to book their place in the final of the tri-nation series at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Wednesday.
Chasing 177 on a wicket that was holding up and taking slight turn was never going to be easy for Bangladesh, but former skipper Mushfiqur Rahim refused to give up without a fight and managed to hit an unbeaten 72 off just 55 balls to take Bangladesh to 159/6 in their 20 overs. In fact, while Washington was the star with the ball, Shardul Thakur deserves credit for bowling a 19th over where he gave away just 5 runs. With 33 needed off the last 2 and Mushfiqur still at the crease, a good over could have very much kept Bangladesh in the hunt.
But before that, the damage was done up early when Washington picked up three wickets in his first three overs. While he picked Liton Das (7) in his first over — Dinesh Karthik’s 50th stumping — Washington returned to clean up Soumya Sarkar for 1. But his biggest wicket came in the third over when he sent back the dangerous looking Tamim Iqbal for 27 off just 19 balls.
After that, it was all about catching up before Mushfiqur and Shabbir Ahmed put on 65 runs for the fifth wicket before Shardul got the important wicket of Shabbir (27) to derail the chase. Till then, the Bangla Tigers were very much in the game as scoring 57 off 24 balls — at the start of that over — was not a big deal considering how teams approach chases in T20s.
Earlier, Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bowl first. But finally India started well and Rohit and Shikhar put on their first 50-run stand of the series as even though Rohit was struggling to get a move on, Dhawan held fort and ensured that the run-rate was affected. While Dhawan attacked, Rohit was happy to stand ground and wait for his opportunity.
But with Rubel Hossain bowling the perfect yorker to dismiss Dhawan (35), Rohit shifted gears in the company of Suresh Raina. The two kept taking account of every bad ball and in between they ran the singles and doubles. But India lost Raina (47 off 30 balls) against the run of play at the start of the 20th over.
Rohit too ended up getting out of the last ball of the innings and that meant that India failed to cross the 18-run mark. While it looked a good total on a not so conducive wicket, credit must also be given to the Bangladesh bowlers for bowling a tight line and length right through the game. Rubel was the pick of the bowlers as he finished with figures of 2/27 from his four overs.