You don’t lose in T20s or ODIs, when just 2 runs are required off the last 3 balls. Turn the pages of cricket history and you won’t find many instances of a team losing 3 wickets in the last three balls, when just one run would have afforded a no-loss situation. After 19.3 overs, Bangladesh were the clear winners with 4 wickets standing and they needed just a tap in a vacant area to drive them to safety. One more run would have given them their first ever T-20 World Cup victory against India. Mushfiqur Rahim looked in good touch and he had already taken two boundaries from Hardik Pandya. The game was nearly done and dusted, when disaster struck the Bangla team. Just when the Indian supporters and TV viewers looked thoroughly disappointed by India’s sordid performance against their less celebrated neighbors, Mushfiqur holed out to Shikhar Dhawan on the leg side boundary. It was still Bangladesh’s game with 2 required of the last two balls. Happily for the Indian fans, crossed-over batsman Mahmudullah emulated Mushfiqur’s act and found Ravindra Jadeja after going aerial with his next shot. Now the match was down to the last ball and Bangla needed 2 for victory and a single for tying the match. They decided to run after Shuvagata Hom missed Pandya’s ball that went to MS Dhoni. Using his senses, Dhoni didn’t panic and instead of throwing the ball from 15 yards, he ran with it and beat Mustafizur Rahman, who had been charging in from the other end. They waited for the review of the third umpire before it became clear that India would live another day with championship chances in the T-20 World Cup.
It wasn’t the way India would have liked to win against Bangladesh on a day, when India celebrated the festival of colors. When the proceedings were done with, it looked as if Bangladesh had done them a favor. Bangladesh had won the toss and presented an opportunity to the famous Indian batting line-up for mounting a sound total. But the decision of Bangla skipper Mashrafe Mortaza was not a thoughtless idea. To a large extent, Mortaza succeeded in keeping the Indian frontline batsmen under a tight lease. The skipper himself produced a spell, in which he didn’t concede a single boundary or a six in his 22 runs off 4 overs. In addition, he used his seamers and spinners in tandem to disrupt the batsmen’s rhythm. Shakib Al-Hasan was as strong as ever and he conceded 23 off his 4 overs. Both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were bogged down from start before Sharma fell in the 6th over and Dhawan in the 7th. Out came India’s master batsman Virat Kohli. With Suresh Raina, Kohli looked like taking the score beyond 170-180 but that didn’t happen. The middle order struggled with runs becoming scarce. India could only add 34 in their last 5 overs to finish with 146/7.
Bangladesh went for the 147-run chase with confidence and their batsmen made Indian bowlers look ordinary. After opener Mohammad Mithun fell early, Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rahman took the score to 55 in the 8th over before Tamim fell. Bangladesh lost a few more wickets but they were still on course with Shakib, Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah chipping in nicely. They needed just 21 runs in the last 3 overs, when Sarkar departed. However, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahman were still there and they looked clearly on course. Indian bowlers did their best to contain the Bangladeshis but didn’t succeed. In the last over, when Bangladesh required 11 runs, Mahmudullah took a single off the first ball and off the second, Mushfiqur blasted Hardik Pandya through the covers. When Mushfiqur scored another boundary, Bangladesh needed just 3 off the last 2. The game was literally in their bag, when Mushfiqur couldn’t handle the ball well and holed out to Shikhar Dhawan. Bangladesh still had 2 balls for scoring the required 2 runs but Mahmudullah’s ambitious pull landed in Ravindra Jadeja’s hands. For Bangladesh, the game was still far from lost as the last ball was still to come. As Pandya bowled the final delivery, Shuvagata Hom missed but set off for a single. As the ball landed in Dhoni’s gloves, the Indian wicketkeeper kept his cool and ran with the ball to run out Mustafizur Rahman from close range.
The one-run victory gift by Bangladesh keeps India afloat for a place in the last four. But they still must beat Australia to enter the semifinals. As for Bangladesh, their heartbreak couldn’t have come at a worse time and that too, after all the hard work. They lost the game from a winning stance as just a few inches separated victory from defeat.
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