Seven matches, four riveting thrillers and a final that kept everyone hooked at the edge of their seats — so much for a series that was expected to produce nothing but yawns. A series that looked like a straight one way road all the way at the beginning, turned out to be one with sharp twists and turns.
Despite the dull expectations that people had from the Nidahas Trophy before it began, it has surprisingly managed to carve out a place for itself in their hearts forever. And all of it has boiled down to the way the nail-biting finale between India and Bangladesh concluded on Sunday.
Bangladesh tried their best and looked like the favourites to win the trophy till the 18th over of the second innings, when India were batting. However, Dinesh Karthik proved to be too good for Bangladesh to handle as his 8-ball blitzkrieg of 29 ended their chances of victory. Here’s a report card of all the Bangladesh players after the riveting final:
If it hadn’t been for his innings of 77 of 50 deliveries, Bangladesh might well have collapsed for a paltry total. Instead they posted a defendable total of 166 and fought till the very end. He had walked out to bat at a time when Bangladesh had lost the wicket of Liton Das on a score of 27 in the fourth over. Two more wickets in the 5th over made the situation far worse for Bangladesh. However, Sabbir stood in the middle like a rock and kept scoring runs at good rate despite wickets falling around him at regular intervals. He finally departed in the 19th over after having scored 77; an innings that consisted seven fours and four humungous sixes.
The ‘Fizz’ didn’t have a good tournament prior to this match. He was hit all around the park and his death bowling had come under scrutiny. However, he produced one of the most riveting spells of death bowling in T20I history as he bowled four consecutive dot balls to Vijay Shankar in the 18th over before claiming the wicket of Manish Pandey off the final delivery of that over. Thus, he gave away just a solitary run and claimed the prized scalp of Pandey when Bangladesh required it the most. He ended up with a terrific spell of 1/21 in his four overs.
Shakib Al Hasan
The Bangladeshi skipper couldn’t do much with the bat as he scored only a run-a-ball seven. However, he bowled four tight overs with the ball, claiming the precious wicket of Shikhar Dhawan having given away only 28 runs in his entire quota. Moreover, he marshalled his troops very well having led them almost to the doors of victory. But at the end, his hard work was undone by Dinesh Karthik’s brilliance with the bat.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz
The young all-rounder has produced some crucial and economic spells with the ball throughout the entire series. However, he got belted for 17 runs in the only over he bowled on the night. But he played a gem of a cameo towards the end of the Bangladeshi innings as he smashed 18 runs off Shardul Thakur’s final over and remained unbeaten on 19 off just seven deliveries.
Rubel Hossain hadn't even put a foot wrong until he bowled the penultimate over of the match. He had claimed the all-important wickets of KL Rahul and Suresh Raina and had conceded only 13 runs off his three overs before bowling his last over. However, Karthik smashed him for 22 runs in his final over that turned the game around for India.
Mahmudullah had won Bangladesh the previous match single-handedly against Sri Lanka. In this match too, it seemed like he was going to play a big innings as he had stitched together a vital partnership with Sabbir Rahman in the middle overs. Unfortunately, he was run out after scoring some valuable 21 runs off 16 deliveries.
Nazmul Islam bowled pretty well throughout the entire match producing chances every now and then. But his lack of consistency and the superiority of Indian batsmen against spin meant that he was taken for 32 runs in his four overs. His only consolation was claiming the wicket of Rohit Sharma which turned the course of the match in Bangladesh’s favour, at least for a while.
Soumya Sarkar’s torrid time with the bat continued in the final as well as he got dismissed for only a solitary run. However, he tried his best to make up Bangladesh's overs. He bowled three overs towards the death but ended up leaking 33 runs. He bowled some really good yorkers and stuck to really good line. His only consolation was Vijay Shankar’s wicket in the final over.
Tamim Iqbal couldn't influence the finale with his batting exploits. He scored 15 runs off 13 deliveries and was dismissed trying to heave Yuzvendra Chahal out of the ground. It took a superb piece of catching at the long on boundary by Shardul Thakur to send him back to the dug-out.
Liton Das, like in the major part of the series, couldn't produce anything special on the night of the final. He scored only 11 runs of nine deliveries before getting dismissed by Washington Sundar in the fourth over of their innings.
Mushfiqur has been Bangladesh’s top run-getter in this series. However, he failed to score when it mattered the most as he got dismissed for just nine runs at the cost of 12 deliveries in this match. However, he kept things neat and clean behind the stumps with his glovework.
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor