It was a memorable day for the Indian fans after Dinesh Karthik, the match-winner with his smoky quick-fire knock saved the day and helped his side leap-frog Bangladesh in the finals of the Nidahas Trophy.
Both Bangladesh and India had made it into the finals of the tournament fighting for the trophy on what became a nail-biting affair at the R Premadasa Stadium. Seldom did anyone know that the Indian team would struggle against the likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rehman who produced phenomenal spells respectively by drilling deep into the wickets of the second string of the Indian team led by Rohit Sharma.
Indian team played two youngsters Washington Sundar and Vijay Shankar who had made their debut in that tournament. On one hand, Sundar put an impressive show in the finals as he finished with 1/20 while producing an economical spell.
But on the other hand, Vijay Shankar became the receiving end of all the criticism for his anti-heroic knock that almost killed the hopes of the Indian team even lifting the trophy.
However, Dinesh Karthik kept his cool and went on to produce one of the engulfing match-winning knocks of his career! He saved the day with his quick-fire 29 off just 8 deliveries and perhaps left a long-lasting impression of his heroics that would haunt Bangladesh everytime they face India.
India’s stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma had won the toss and decided to bat first with the hope of restricting the Bangladesh batsmen within 140-150 and successfully chase down the total. It was clear from the pitch that it gave room only to the spinner as it could be seen from the success of Yuzvendra Chahal who spin-webbed Bangladeshi batsmen and even took three wickets in the form of Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Bangladesh reached a decent total courtesy to Sabbir Rehman who gave the Indian bowlers a hard time by top-scoring 77 runs off 50 deliveries at a strike rate of 154.00, giving his fans a virtual treat of seven boundaries and four sixes. He was finally dismissed by Jaydev Unadkat who happened to be the most successful pacer among both the sides.
Among the spinners, Chahal finished with 3/18 and also combined with Sundar to give a watchful treat of spin bowling from both ends by producing economical spells respectively. The duo helped to restrict Bangladesh to 166/8, which would have been less if Shardul Thakur and Vijay Shankar had conceded fewer runs.
Chasing 167 runs, India already lost Shikhar Dhawan who in the pursuit of giving his side a solid start gave away his wicket on just 10 runs. However, skipper Rohit Sharma covered that topple by staying intact on the field and maintaining the flow of runs.
The Indian team kept on losing wickets with Suresh Raina getting out on a duck, followed by KL Rahul and Manish Pandey failing to convert their innings bigger for the winning cause.
As the match approach show-down time, the pressure also mounted on them with more runs needed off lesser deliveries. Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik were on the field and India needed 34 runs in the last two overs.
The penultimate over leaked 22 runs as the equation came down to 12 needed off the final over.
The target seemed virtually difficult to achieve but Karthik ensured to defy such odd possibility by smacking boundaries and sixes. While he did that, Vijay Shankar found it difficult to middle the bat with the ball and finally gave away his wicket before the final delivery after scoring 17 off just 19 balls. Needing five runs off the last delivery, India needed a miracle and Karthik did with a flat-six off the deep cover, thereby clinching a penultimate over thriller. The 35-year old was adjudged as the Man of the Match for his heroic knock.
It was the second time Bangladesh and India confronted each other in a last-over thriller in which Bangladesh failed to hold the nerves eventually lost the game to the second tier Indian team.
Dinesh Karthik was a much-needed adrenaline power to India in their chase, paving his place back in the Indian team for the coming months and even tagged as one of the finishers of the game.