It left every Indian fan puzzled when Vijay Shankar came in to bat ahead of Dinesh Karthik in a pressure situation during the final of the Nidahas Trophy between India and Bangladesh in Colombo on Sunday, but the move of stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma paid off in style. Karthik hit 29* off 8 balls to win the title for his team with a last-ball six, after which Rohit revealed why he held his wicketkeeper-batsman back.
Needing 34 off the last 12 balls, India, who kept their unbeaten record against Bangladesh in T20Is intact, pulled off a tense 167-run chase to win by four wickets at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Rohit set up the chase with a 42-ball 56, but it required a special knock from Karthik to take India past the finish line ahead of the Tigers.
"He has batted in that position in a list of games for his state teams. Even when he was playing for Mumbai Indians (in the Indian Premier League) with me, I knew his ability with the bat," Rohit said after India's win.
"He's got some different types of skill shots that would probably be required at that point at the death overs. That was the only reason we held him back. I can proudly say it paid off," the skipper added..
Man-of-the-Match Karthik hit medium pacer Rubel Hossain for two sixes and as many fours as India scored 22 runs in the penultimate over to stay in the chase, requiring 12 runs off the final over.
India lost Vijay Shankar on the penultimate ball of the match but Karthik held his nerve to hit Soumya Sarkar for a six, triggering wild celebrations in the dressing room.
"We knew he (Karthik) could finish off the game for us," Rohit said.
Earlier, Bangladesh rode on Sabbir Rahman's 50-ball 77 to post 166/8 after recovering from a top-order stutter.
(With inputs from AFP)