Shubman Gill’s fifth ODI century and a counter-attacking 42 by Axar Patel were in vain as Bangladesh held their nerve to pick up a thrilling six run win –their third in four ODIs against India — in the inconsequential final Super Fours encounter of the ongoing Asia Cup 2023. India rested five key players, having already booked their final berth, and found themselves chasing a competitive 266 after allowing Bangladesh’s tail to script a brilliant death-overs recovery in their batting innings. In reply, Gill held one end up to set up the platform with a 133-ball 121 and Axar provided the late impetus but his penultimate-over dismissal tilted the game in Bangladesh’s favour.
Bangladesh enjoyed the upper hand for most part of India’s chase, managing to break every substantial partnership at crucial junctures. Rohit Sharma chipped the second ball of the chase straight to cover-point to hand debutant Tanzin Hasan Shakib his maiden ODI wicket. The youngster then knocked over India debutant Tilak Varma’s stumps to make it two in his first two overs in international cricket. He finished an extended six-over opening spell with the impressive figures of 6-1-15-2.
Gill began the repair work in the company of KL Rahul, who lent an ideal supporting hand in the 54-run third-wicket stand. The pair got their eye in after the early jitters and steadied the ship but the pressure of dot balls eventually got to Rahul, who drilled one from Mahedi Hasan straight to short midwicket in his attempt to break free. Despite slowing down a tad in his 40s, Gill raised his fifty with a six off Mahedi, dancing down the track to loft it over cow-corner. However, Bangladesh hit back soon after with the wicket of Ishan Kishan, who burnt a review trying to overturn the LBW call against Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
Gill got Suryakumar for company as India looked to rebuild again but Bangladesh kept chipping away at regular intervals. Suryakumar made his intentions clear from the word go, sweeping his first ball to the fence and was a more proactive partner in the 45-run partnership over the next nine overs. However, a similar premeditated sweep brought an end to his knock on 26.
Gill sent two tossed up deliveries from Mehidy over long-on to enter 90s in style, but Bangladesh again managed to send back his partner, Ravindra Jadeja, in the over after drinks. The young opener carried on undeterred, welcoming Tanzin back into the attack with a brace to get to triple figures first and then celebrating the landmark with back to back fours. With 64 required off the last seven, Gill decided to step on the accelerator and heaved one over deep midwicket but Mahedi Hasan made a terrific comeback on the very next delivery, throwing it wider and having the opener caught at long-off in an attempt to clear the fence once again.
Down to 209/7, the onus fell on Axar Patel to see India through. His entertaining 34-ball 42, in the company of India’s tail, brought the equation down to 17 off 12 balls but Mustafizur Rahman’s twin strikes in the 49th over effectively put an end to India’s fight.
Earlier, contrasting fifties from Shakib Al Hasan (80 off 85) and Towhid Hridoy (54 off 81) and a fightback from the tail helped Bangladesh to a competitive 265/8 after poor shot selection from the top-order had them reeling at 28/3 shortly after being put in to bat. Mohammed Shami got the early breakthrough when he got one to nip back in, brush Litton Das’s pads and crash into the off-stump, while Shardul Thakur sent Tanzid Hasan and Anamul Haque packing off short balls.
Shakib led from the front in the rescue act, resurrecting the innings through a 101-run stand with Hridoy after Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s dismissal had once left them staring down the barrel at 59/4 inside 14 overs. Shakib built on the reprieve he got on 28, and notched up his 55th ODI fifty. Hridoy joined in after a watchful start and upped the ante by tonking two off Tilak Varma over the ropes. Shakib meted out similar treatment to Axar Patel at the other end, bringing up his half-century with the first.
It was Thakur who broke the blossoming century partnership first ball after drinks. Batting on 80, Shakib dragged an inside edge onto his leg-stump. One brought two and Ravindra Jadeja grabbed his 200th ODI scalp by trapping Shamim Hossain LBW in the very next over. Nasum Ahmed provided the impetus at one end as Hridoy marched on to a 77-ball fifty. He perished soon after but Nasum kept the odd boundary an over coming in his run-a-ball 44 that was instrumental in Bangladesh picking up some much-needed pace in the death overs. Bangladesh’s tail also put their hand up. While Mahedi Hasan (29* off 23) showed excellent running between wickets, debutant Tanzim Hasan Sakib dealt in boundaries in his brief 8-ball cameo of 14, enabling Bangladesh to collect 93 runs in the last 12 overs.
Bangladesh 265/8 in 50 overs (Shakib Al Hasan 80, Towhid Hridoy 54; Shardul Thakur 2-65, Mohammed Shami 2-32) beat India 259 all out in 49.5 overs (Shubman Gill 121, Axar Patel 42; Mustafizur Rahman 3-50, Tanzin Hasan Shakib 2-32) by 6 runs