The Asia Cup 2016 Final nearly lived up to its promise of being tantalizingly close and nerve wracking. But for MS Dhoni and Mahmudullah, the complexion of the match could have swung either way. Bangladesh could have earned a tight victory had Dhoni not hit a couple of belligerent sixes in the penultimate over. India could have had a walk in the park, chasing a paltry Bangladesh target, if Mahmudullah’s magic innings had not come along in the last 5 overs. However, ultimately, it was India’s superior batting prowess that prevailed over Bangladesh’s excitement. In a rain-curtailed contest, Bangladesh’s 120 in 15 overs was chased down by the Indians with 7 balls and 8 wickets to spare.
Bangladesh – A victim of their own follies
Notwithstanding the prolific run of success that Bangladesh have recently enjoyed at home, they still look short of the kind of maturity that one would expect from an international team. It was the disgusting morphed image of Taskin Ahmed holding the severed head of the Indian skipper, which went viral a couple of days ago, that seriously dented the position of Bangladesh as a ‘cricket loving country’. A somewhat similarly ridiculous poster had come up last year in the aftermath of Bangladesh’s 2-1 ODI series win over India. Clearly, the nation still has a long way to go before learning to draw the line between ‘love’ and ‘rabble rousing’!
In a game which has been cut short by 5 overs, runs are of vital importance, especially for the team batting first. When Mushfiqur Rahim’s wicket fell in the 12th over and the scorecard had read 75/4, one would have expected the in form Mahmudullah to come in to bat. Instead, to the utter amazement of many, it was the captain Mashrafe Mortaza (whose skills of being an all rounder are dubious, at best) who walked in to join Sabbir Rahman. Clearly, to any rational person, this was either over confidence or unfathomably poor captaincy. With Nassir Hossain and Mahmudullah padded up, Mortaza’s decision to promote himself up the order can be termed as nothing short of ‘eccentricity’.
The curious case of Shikhar Dhawan
He has perhaps been as enigmatic as the black hole itself. At times, he looks unassailable anywhere in the world. At other times, he looks as ordinary as a tail ender. And yet, there he was yesterday, scoring a match winning half century to bring home India’s sixth Asia Cup title. The flatness in the pitch might have helped him yesterday, but questions continue to persist over his consistency in any format of the game. A string of depressingly low scores has suddenly been followed by a dazzling knock that takes our breath away! This has been Shikhar Dhawan’s USP ever since he secured a place in the Indian team a few years ago. ‘Reliability’ is the key word, which we cannot associate with him under any circumstances. In the upcoming T20 World Cup, we should thus be prepared for upswings and downswings in Dhawan’s performances in every match.