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India clinched the Asia Cup for a record sixth time after beating hosts Bangladesh by eight wickets, thanks to a 94-run stand between Shikhar Dhawan (60) and Virat Kohli (41*) and some late blitz by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to complete a dominant cup triumph for the unbeaten men-in-blue.
Chasing a target of 121 in 15 overs, India rode on Shikhar Dhawan’s scintillating knock of 60 off 44 balls and a composed 41 not out from Virat Kohli before Mahendra Singh quashed any hopes of a Bangladesh comeback with some lusty blows at the end.
Here are the 5 turning points from a thrilling Asia Cup final in Mirpur.
1. Ashish Nehra and Bumrah strike early
Bangladesh got off to a cautious start given the magnitude of the occasion, but Soumya Sarkar took the attack to Ashish Nehra in the fourth over with a couple of sweetly timed boundaries but the old warhorse adjusted his length and forced a mis-hit off the Bangladesh opener.
Tamim was next to depart, bringing an end to a labored innings of 13 as he tried to play Bumrah across the line and gets dismissed leg before wicket.
2. Shakib’s flourish and fizzle
Shakib Al-Hasan was looking rather dangerous for the hosts as he knelt down on one knee to dispatch Jadeja for a boundary before taking the attack to Hardik Pandya for a couple of more boundaries in the following over.
But Mahendra Singh Dhoni brought back Ashwin for his third over and dismissed the dangerous looking left-hander. Bangladesh needed some big hits at 68 for 3 after 10 overs.
3. Mahmudullah giving Bangladesh a fighting chance
4..6..2..6…two more balls.
4..6..2..6..wide…still 2 more balls.
This was how the 14th over bowled by Hardik Pandya read at one point. A brutal display of hitting from Mahmudullah as he smashed the medium pacer to all parts and took Bangladesh well past a total of 100. 21 runs came off that Pandya over, and despite an economical last over from Jasprit Bumrah, Mahmudullah’s 33 off 13 balls ensured Bangladesh had a fighting total to defend against a strong Indian batting.
4. Bangladesh dismisses Rohit, put the screws early on
Al-Amin struck in the second over to dismiss the in-form Rohit Sharma as the delivery moved a shade as Rohit tried to slash it outside his off -stump.
Kohli and Dhawan were not willing to take any risks against some really tight bowling from Al-Amin and Taskin. India were 19 for 1 after 4 overs and needed a partnership to take control of the match.
5. Dhawan and Kohli’s 94 run stand take India to brink of win
India needed to break the shackles after a conservative start in the first four overs, and six boundaries in the next two overs ensured the score rocketed to 48 for 1 after six.
But the great thing about last night’s chase was the patience and temperament displayed by two of India’s best match-winners, not taking unnecessary risks and backing their abilities to win 10 runs an over from the last five.
50 from 5 overs changed to 24 from 3 as Dhawan notched up his fifty with back-to-back boundaries. And if Dhawan’s wicket gave Bangladesh any hope, skipper Dhoni’s blitzkrieg of a knock (20* off 6 balls) ensured India clinched the Asia Cup with seven balls to spare. A trophy in the cabinet, and a return of Dhoni the finisher.