ONI Bureau: Team India, the only unbeaten team in the tournament, struggled hard to beat Bangladesh by 3 wickets in the final in Dubai to win the Asia Cup 2018 title. It’s India’s 7th Asia Cup title and it came under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma. It’s also India’s 700th ODI victory.
Earlier, India won the toss and opted to bowl first. Bangladesh openers added 120 runs for the first wicket in just 20.4 overs. But, Indian bowlers bounced back to restrict them at 222 in 48.1 overs. Liton Das scored 121 off 117 balls. Mehidy Hasan (32) and Soumya Sarkar (33) were the other top contributors. For India, Kuldeep Yadav took 3 wickets, while Kedar Jadhav took 2 wickets.
Chasing a victory target of 223, India lost Dhawan and Rayudu early. Rohit Sharma scored 48. Dinesh Karthik (37) and MS Dhoni (36) prevented further damage. However, both batsmen departed in quick succession, putting India in deep trouble. Kedhar Jadhav’s injury compounded India’s problems. He was retired hurt on 19.
Ravindra Jadeja (23) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (21) batted sensibly to take India close to victory. Although Jadeja departed when India needed 11 runs to win. Kedar Jadhav returned to give support to Bhuvneshwar, but Bhuvi departed off the first ball of 49th over.
There were tense moments in the game, as just 3 runs were collected from the 49th over at the cost of one wicket. India needed 6 runs in the last over bowled by Mahmudullah. Kedar Jadhav (23*) and Kuldeep Yadav (5*) held their nerves to power India to a 3-wicket win, as India scored the winning run off the last ball. They reached 223/7 in 50 overs.
It was Bangladesh’s 3rd appearance in the final, but they could not win the title. In 2012, they lost to Pakistan by 2 runs. In 2016, they lost to India by 8 wickets in a rain-affected 15-overs-a-side match. They fought hard this time, but were unfortunate to lose the match by a whisker. Liton Das was declared ‘Player of the Match’, while Shikhar Dhawan (342 runs in the tournament) was awarded ‘Player of the Series’.
India won the Asia Cup in 1984, 1988, 1990/91, 1995, 2010, 2016 and 2018.