India clinched the 2016 Asia Cup, defeating Bangladesh at Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Sunday, by eight wickets in an exciting title-decider. Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli played a huge role with the bat, scoring 60 runs and 41 n.o respectively, to help India emerge victorious.
India were the team to beat in the Asia Cup and they did not disappoint the Men in Blue fans, winning all their matches including the final. This Asia Cup victory for India is their third straight T20 series win, as they defeated Australia and Sri Lanka in January and February respectively.
MS Dhoni, who won the toss, decided to ball first, which was a good option considering the game was reduced to 15 overs per side due to rain.
However, Bangladesh are always a good batting side and their batsmen did not disappoint their home fans as well with a good total.
Mahmudullah and Sabbir Rahman played a great knock to help Bangladesh reach a score of 120 runs. The duo finished the innings brilliantly, taking the attack to the Indian bowlers in the final few overs.
Mahmudullah played some breath-taking shots, scoring 12-ball 32, which included two fours and two sixes. Sabbir, on the other hand, hit two fours in his 32-run innings. Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin were the most impressive bowlers for India, picking a wicket each at an economical rate.
But one has to credit other Bangladesh batsmen such as Soumya Sarkar and Shakib-Al-Hasan, who also contributed with the bat. Sarkar scored 14 runs and Shakib's innings comprised 21 runs from 16 balls.
With India requiring 120 runs from 15 overs, the chase was never going to be easy and all eyes were on India openers – Rohit Sharma and Shikhar. If India were to emerge victorious they needed Rohit to start well, but the right-hander was dismissed by Al-Amin Hossain for one run in the second over.
India were immediately on the backfoot. Initially, Bangladesh bowlers were not allowing India to score quick runs. Shikhar and Kohli could not even take much time to get their eye in as the required run rate was always a major problem.
Shikhar and Kohli reached fifty runs for India in 6.3 overs, with some controlled aggression. Apart from hitting boundaries, their running between the wickets was also very impressive. Gradually, Bangladesh was facing the music from the duo, who began to toy with the bowlers, thrashing them all around the wicket.
Despite losing Rohit early, Kohli and Shikhar scored runs at a brisk rate. They did not show any signs of pressure when they were at the middle.
However, Kohli and Shikhar did not hold back when loose balls were bowled at them by the Bangladesh bowlers. Though the duo was batting brilliantly, the required run rate was always climbing. India required 50 runs from the last five overs. Kohli and Shikhar looked in great control as they attacked Bangaldesh bolwers to inch closer to the target.
But India lost Shikhar for 60 runs. With India requiring 22 runs from 14 balls after the left-hander's departure, Dhoni promoted himself up the order and what a decision it turned out to be as the captain finished the game with seven balls to spare, scoring 6-ball 20, which included one four and two sixes. No wonder, Dhoni is regarded as the best finisher in world cricket.
Though Dhoni might have hogged the limelight with such an amazing finish, one should not forget Kohli's innings of 41 runs, which is one of the main reasons why India won their sixth Asia Cup title.
This tournament victory has established India as the best side in Asia. Now, India will be gunning for the next title, ICC World T20, which is set to start March 8. Dhoni's team are favourites to win the World T20 title in front of their home fans.