The Asia Cup final is Live at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, wherein a fully loaded India are playing against a crippled Bangladesh. While India are the defending champions, Bangladesh have secured a place in the Asia Cup final thrice in the last four editions. The world no. 7 team were deprived of their best players with Shakib-al-Hasan and Tamim Iqbal’s absence. In-form batsman Mushfiqur Rahim would be playing, but with injuries.
Bangladesh’s skipper Mashrafe Mortaza, who has got a broken finger himself, acknowledged themselves as underdogs for the final without any hint of hesitation.
“Let me be honest, the moment Tamim entered the field against Sri Lanka as the last man to help Mushfiqur score those runs, my Asia Cup was won,” an emotional Mortaza said at the pre-match press conference.
Liton Das played the best innings of his life, producing his maiden half-century in One-Day Internationals and also converting into a brilliant hundred. The 23-year-old right-handed batsman produced the best ODI innings of his life against one of the best teams in the world, and under pressure. The two openers, Liton Das and Mehidy Hasan Miraz forged a splendid partnership of 120 runs until the latter was uprooted by ridiculously slow delivery from Kedhar Jadav.
During his first-wicket partnership with Miraz, Liton Das was playing the match of his life. He finished with an impressive 121 off 117, making it into an offbeat list of cricketers. He came into play the final today averaging only 14 in ODIs and he’s now second in the list of cricketers with the lowest batting average before scoring their maiden hundred. The most fascinating thing about this wicketkeeper-batsman is the way in which he faced and attacked the frontline Indian bowlers. At one point, he had put Bangladesh on top as he kept playing attacking shots against Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja.
The Kedar factor
Kedar Jadhav was given the ball for the first time in the match only after the 20th over. He bagged his first wicket of the day off his fifth ball. In the next eight overs, Bangladesh had only managed 29 runs at the expense of four wickets. Jadhav’s wicket of Mehidy Hasan Miraz was literally the breakthrough India were looking for. The run-rate was falling the experienced batsmen had lost their wickets to Kuldeep Yadav and Kedar Jadhav. Captain Mashrafe Mortaza lost his wicket to a good old stumping by the one and only and with it, MS Dhoni now has 800 dismissals as a wicketkeeper in ODIs. Only Adam Gilchrist(905) and Mark Boucher(998) have more. India didn’t look back even once from that stage. The difference in Bangladesh’s batting performance in the first and second half of their innings can be discerned clearly from this: First 20 overs- 108 for no loss, Next 20 overs- 70 runs for the loss of five wickets.
India successfully bowled out Bangladesh in 48.3 overs with Kuldeep Yadav picking up 3 wickets and Jadhav finishing off with bowling figures of 9-0-41-2. Despite the heroics of Liton Das, Bangladesh managed to produce a target of only 223 for India in the Asia Cup final.