3 wickets in the last 3 balls of the Bangladesh innings. That was how India pulled off a heist against their gritty neighbours, last night at Bangalore in the ICC World T20 2016. However, despite the thrilling end to the contest, one can be forgiven for thinking that it was more a case of Bangladesh throwing the match away, rather than India winning it because of their sheer brilliance. The Men In Blue, except on certain occasions, were below par with the bat, ball and in the field. While Bangladesh did manage to capitalize on India’s weaknesses for some time, they lost out when it all boiled down to a battle of nerves during the last few deliveries.
Misdirected overconfidence from Bangladesh
Bangladesh literally had the key to a famous victory until the last three balls came their way. After having smashed two (apparently) match winning boundaries in the last over, Mushfiqur Rahim had managed to bring the equation down to 2 off 3! All that was needed thereafter was a couple of gentle shots through the innumerable gaps in the field in order to secure an easy win. However, instead of taking that easy way out, both Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah went for the ‘glory’ shots. And both were caught at deep mid wicket, on deliveries that were not exactly unplayable! The Result – Bangladesh lost by a solitary run, all because two of their set batsmen could not resist the temptation of being childishly pompous at a critical stage in the game.
MS Dhoni’s bowling changes
Yesterday, MS Dhoni aptly exemplified the art of leadership under insurmountable pressure! He rotated his bowlers to good effect in the last 6 overs to make sure that Bangladesh never regained the momentum that they had earned in the first half of the chase. Even though it was Ashwin’s critically important strike to dismiss Shakib in the 13th over that tilted the scales in India’s favour and gave Dhoni the legroom to to attack, the game might have been lost for India had the captain not persisted with his strike bowlers until the final over. Hardik Pandya was clearly the weak link in the bowling department, but Dhoni knew that he was the only option in the death overs apart from Nehra and Bumrah. The ingenuity of the skipper lay in how he managed to conceal Pandya until the end, and made sure that his two strike bowlers had managed to push the opponents to a corner by then. Had Pandya been introduced earlier, there was every chance that Bangladesh could have run away with the game in his over.
The race to the semi finals has now heated up. India, Pakistan and Australia now stand in contention to make it to the next stage. Enjoy the fun ride in the next few days!