Bengaluru: India survived a mighty scare before pulling off an incredible 1-run victory over Bangladesh in a nerve-wracking low-scoring thriller to keep their semi- final hopes alive in the ICC World T20, here on Wednesday.
Defending a modest 146, India looked down and out for the better part of the match before pulling their acts together in the final two overs to restrict Bangladesh to 145 for 9.
It was a piece of inspirational act by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who took his right gloves off when Hardik Pandya came in to bowl the last delivery with two runs required. Pandya bowled a fuller delivery wide off Shuvagato Hom who missed it and Dhoni caught it with only his inners on.
As Mustafizur started sprinting from the other end, the 34 plus Indian skipper beat his younger opponent in a short sprint to whip off the bails to lead to an unbelievable finish as the entire Chinnaswamy Stadium erupted in joy.
It was a perfect Holi gift for the fans by the Indian team, who now have four points and are up in the second position in the table with a match left.
Credit should also be given to Jasprit Bumrah, who bowled six magnificent deliveries in the penultimate over when Bangladesh needed only 17 off 12 balls. When Hardik Pandya (2/29) was handed the ball, pacers Ashish Nehra, Bumrah, and spinners Ravindra Jadeja (2/22) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2/20 in 4 overs) had already finished their quota and Dhoni was hardpressed to choose his options .
The dangerous Mahmudullah got one off Pandya's first delivery and Mushfiqur Rahim smacked the next through covers for a boundary bring the equation down to 6 from four balls. To everyone's horror Rahim then played half scoop off the next ball on the pads which was just out of Dhoni's reach as equation became 2 off 3 balls. Off the next ball, Rahim mistimed a pull shot to get out as it became 2 off 2 balls.
With Mahmudullah on strike, he mistimed a pull off another full toss which was pouched brilliantly by India's beat fielder Jadeja. With 1 needed for tie and 2 to win, it was the inspirational Dhoni, who brought smiles with his daredevilry and innovative thinking.
Ashwin was brought into the attack in the third over and he got Mithun Ali (1) with third delivery. The batsmen jumped out at a delivery that was dropped short but did not get the required power or elevation to clear Hardik Pandya at long-on.
Jasprit Bumrah, who conceded a boundary off the first ball of the Bangladesh chase had a horrible day in office when he dropped Tamim on 15 when the left-hander miscued a sweep shot off Ashwin.
Bumrah standing at short fine leg missed a sitter. As if to rub salt to the wound, Sabbir Rahaman danced down the track to deposit Ashwin into the stands. Having understood that the ball is not coming onto the bat, Tamim was charging to reach to the pitch of the deliveries.
A distraught Bumrah was then smashed for 16 runs as if to add insult to the injury. First a slash through the point and then lofted over mid-on, followed by a deliberate thickish edge through third-man and a rasping cover drive. It was a shooter from Ravindra Jadeja that kept low as Tamim (35, 32 balls) gave the charge to miss it with Dhoni completing the easiest of stumpings.
Sabbir (26) was batting well but a moment's indiscretion off a wide Raina delivery saw Dhoni effect a smart stumping (which was certainly the turning point in the game). Surprising everyone, Mashrafe Mortaza walked out leaving Mahmudullah Riyadh in the pavilion. Mashrafe hoisted Raina for a straight six. In the next Pandya over, Shakib slashed one at deep point and Ashwin dropped a relatively easy catch.
Mashrafe's bravado did not last long as he was bowled in Jadeja's next over leaving Bangladesh at 87 for four with visions of a comeback. But Shakib (22, 2x6), who hit a six each off Pandya and Jadeja as Indian fielders looked tense. Ashwin made amends for a dropped catch with a nice drifter of a delivery that spun enough to take edge as Raina took a simple catch. Earlier, India's much vaunted batting line-up struggled on a slow and sluggish track as they just about managed an unimpressive 146/7 against a disciplined Bangladesh attack after being put into bat.
Almost all the Indian batsmen struggled on a track where the ball was not coming onto the bat and Bangladeshi slow bowlers made it even more difficult with their controlled line and length bowling. Suresh Raina (30 off 23 balls) with a boundary and two sixes was the top-scorer but the contribution was not enough looking at the total posted by the hosts.
Shikhar Dhawan (23), Virat Kohli (24) spent considerable time at the wicket but could never force the pace. Hardik Pandya (15) was showing positive signs before a Soumya Sarkar stunner in the deep ended what could have been an impactful innings. Yuvraj Singh (3) failed to gauge the pace of the wicket while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (13 no off 12 balls) concentrated on the singles and doubles.
Skipper Mahsrafe Mortaza (0/22 in 4 overs) and his deputy Shakib Al Hasan (1/23 in 4 overs) used all their experience to keep things tight. They were ably supported by Shuvagato Hom (1/23 in 3 overs), Mahmudullah Riyadh (1/4 in 1 overs).
Al Amin Hossain (2/37) got important wickets despite being expensive while Mustafizur Rahaman (2/34 in 4 overs) also went for some runs in the final overs. Indian openers looked scratchy during better part of the Powerplay overs as boundaries were hard to come by. Initially Dhawan showed some intent to keep the scoreboard moving. It was in the final over of Powerplay that both Rohit Sharma and Dhawan hit Mustafizur Rahaman for a six each as 15 came off the first five balls. But Rohit (18) miscued a lofted drive off the last delivery as Sabbir Rahman took a well-judged skier.
In the very next over, Dhawan yorked himself to a Shakib delivery as India were reduced to 45 for two at the end of seven overs. It was Raina, who was the dominant partner during his 50 -run partnership with an unusually subdued Virat Kohli (24 off 24 balls). Raina hit a couple of sixes off Al-Amin to keep the scoreboard ticking even though the run-rate wasn't exactly impressive.
With pitch looking difficult for strokemaking, Virat could not hit a single boundary for 22 deliveries before dispatching Shuvagato to the cow corner off the 23rd delivery that he faced. But off the very next delivery which was similar and wemt with the angle, Kohli missed the line completely to get bowled.
The remaining batsmen could not force the pace as Bangladesh bowlers had a good day in office.