India outclassed hosts Bangladesh by eight wickets in the final of the Asia Cup T20 2016 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. It is the sixth time India has emerged as champions in the race of Asian supremacy.
According to Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, what made the victory all the more meaningful was Bangladesh’s meteoric rise in the cricketing world – with their 2-1 win over India in June 2015. “Things have changed. It’s not like the 2004 Bangladesh team,” Dhoni said, as reported by ESPN CricInfo. “They have a fantastic squad right now. They have improved a lot, and that’s what is showing in their performance on the field. So it was an important one to win.”
With this victory, India have won three consecutive T20 series; after winning against Australia and Sri Lanka in three match bilateral series. Zee News notes that, ahead of the World T20 set to begin on March 8, the Asia Cup victory could be the ideal confidence booster the team would require.
Chasing Bangladesh’s impressive score of 120/5 at the end of 15 overs, India won by eight wickets with commendable performances by opener Shikhar Dhawan and one down Virat Kohli. The two batted sensibly and scored regularly, not letting the required run rate become impossible to accomplish. Although the side lost opener Rohit Sharma to Al-Amin Hossain in the second over, Dhawan and Kohli contributed 94 runs for the third wicket partnership, paving the way for an inspiring victory for the team that remained undefeated in the tournament.
Dhawan, who hit nine fours and a six, lost his wicket to Taskin Ahmed, caught at point for 60. Meanwhile, Kohli continued playing well, finishing at 41 not out from 28 balls. Dhoni’s flourish of 20 from six balls towards the end sealed India’s victory.
India Today reports that earlier in the day, the match had been reduced to 15 overs a side due to torrential downpour.
Bangladesh’s total of 120 can largely be attributed to the 45 run stand for the sixth wicket partnership between Sabbir Rahman and Mahmudullah. With 75/5 at the end of the 12th over, the hosts found themselves in a heap of trouble. It was then that Sabbir and Mahmudullah – the latter scoring 21 runs in Hardik Pandya’s over, a flourish that helped the hosts reach a more than impressive total of 120/5 – started playing the way a side should play in a major tournament final. Sabbir played the role of an anchor, ensuring that he didn’t lose his wicket, scoring 32 from 29 balls. Mahmudullah, on the other hand, scored a blinding 33 from 13 deliveries.
Shikhar Dhawan was awarded man for the match.