Mahmudullah, Dinesh Chandimal and Rohit Sharma © AFP
Mahmudullah, Dinesh Chandimal and Rohit Sharma © AFP

After a high profile India’s tour of South Africa, Nidahas Trophy 2018 generated little interest. India didn’t have six of their regulars that included the likes of Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. When the tournament started, fans were found skipping channels on remote to figure out the right one. Don’t blame them. India are not used to watching cricket on D Sports and Rishtey.

Celebrations for Sri Lanka’s 70th independence began amidst empty stands. High-octane cricket took the centre stage once the tournament got underway, and it continued till the very last ball.

India were punched on the face with reality when Kusal Perera breezed Sri Lanka to win in the opener. The second string India did well to win rest of their games, while the hosts did not find another win. Bangladesh lost their two matches to India but won both their games against Sri Lanka to make it to the final.

Nidahas Trophy final, India vs Bangladesh: Dinesh Karthik’s feats, other statistical highlights
Nidahas Trophy final, India vs Bangladesh: Dinesh Karthik’s feats, other statistical highlights

The ill-tempered moments in the virtual semi-final clash between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh saw the hosts supporters turning out in numbers to cheer India in the final. India started as favourites. Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar further helped them maintain the tag before Sabbir Rahman brought Bangladesh in the game. In a topsy-turvy game, Rohit Sharma was taking India to victory when Bangladesh pacers —Rubel Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman pulled things back.

The tournament title was eventually decided by a Dinesh Karthik-six off the final ball.

Nidahas Trophy 2018 exceeded the hype that it was expected to live. Suvajit Mustafi rates the player performances in the series in a scale of 10.

Hosts: Sri Lanka

Kusal Perera – 8.5/10

R 204 | Ave 51 |HS 74| 50s 3 |SR 158.1 | Dismissals 3

Kusal Perera gave Sri Lanka the ideal start to the tournament. He smashed Shardul Thakur for 27in a over. He continued his good form throughout but it was not good enough for Sri Lanka to make it to the final. He also kept wickets in Dinesh Chandimal’s absence.

Kusal Mendis – 7/10

R 134 | Ave 33.5 |HS 57| 50s 2 |SR 152.3

Kusal Mendis’ talent has won him plaudits from all over but his lack of consistency has haunted Sri Lanka. He scored two fifties between two scores of 11. He needs to step up more often to enable Sri Lanka wins more often.

Thisara Perera – 6.5/10

R 95 | Ave 31.7 |HS 54| 50s 1 |SR 175.9 | W 1| Ave 98 | Econ R 9.2

You got to feel for Thisara. He is appointed the skipper, then sacked without a reason and then again leads the team in must-wins game. He bowled a lot at the death and was pounded for too many. With the bat, he finished the game against India and played a fine hand in the final league game against Bangladesh. Thisara’s impact is stupendous but he too lacks the consistency.

Upul Tharanga - 5/10 (R 76 | Ave 25.3 |HS 32*| 50s 0 |SR 122.6)

Nuwan Pradeep – 5/10 (W 4| Ave 28.75 | Econ R 11)

Amila Aponso – 5/10 (W 1| Ave 19 | Econ R 6.3)

Danushka Gunathilaka – 4/10 (R 66 | Ave 16.5 |HS 26| SR 143.5 | W 2| Ave 31 | Econ R 7.8)

Akila Dananjaya – 4/10 (W 4| Ave 32.3 | Econ R 8.6)

Isuru Udana – 4/10 (W 1| Ave 26 | Econ R 9.2)

Dushmanta Chameera – 3.5/10 (W 3| Ave 36.7 | Econ R 10)

Jeevan Mendis – 3.5/10 (R 10 | Ave 5 |HS 6*| SR 62.5 | W 3| Ave 34.7 | Econ R 8)

Suranga Lakmal – 1.5/10 (W 0| Econ R 9.5)

Dasun Shanaka – 1.5/10 (R 34 | Ave 11.3 |HS 19| SR 91.9 | W 0|Econ R 12)

Dinesh Chandimal – 1/10  (R 16 | Ave 8 |HS 14| SR 106.7)

***

Runners-up: Bangladesh

Mushfiqur Rahim – 8.5/10

R 199 | Ave 66.3 |HS 72*| 50s 2 |SR 141.1 | Dismissals 3

Mushfiqur Rahim played one of the finest innings by a Bangladeshi in international cricket to help Bangladesh chase down a record 215 in their first game against Sri Lanka. Mushfiqur almost singlehandedly pulled off a win against India. He was safe behind the stumps and lifted the Bangladesh side. I am tempted to give him half a mark for his Naagin dance but let us stick to cricket here.

Rubel Hossain – 7.5/10

W 7| Ave 24.6 | Econ R 8.7

The tournament marked Rubel’s renaissance as a T20 star. He was very good throughout except the penultimate over of the tournament, where Karthik clubbed his for 22 that turned out to be match defining. Rubel’s best shows came in the two league games against India and even in the final, he had figures of 13 for 2 from his three overs before the Karthik carnage.

Mustafizur Rahman – 7.5/10

W 7| Ave 25.3 | Econ R 8.8

He is special. No doubt, he is. Mustafizur was not at his best but still good enough to almost bowl Bangladesh to a tournament glory. India needed 35 off the final three overs when Mustafizur bowled a maiden wicket to swing the game in Bangladesh’ control. Despite lacking the usual zing, he finished with 7 wickets from the tournament.

Mahmudullah – 7/10

R 96 | Ave 24 |HS 43*| SR 157.4 | W 2| Ave 32 | Econ R 8

It was a Mahmudullah-six off the penultimate ball of the virtual semi-final against Sri Lanka that saw Bangladesh into the final. He led in three games of the tournament in absence of Shakib Al Hasan and did more than a decent job. He played a couple of crucial knocks in the tournament which proved to be decisive in the end. He picked up 2 wickets too, and it was a surprise as to why he did not bowl more.

Tamim Iqbal – 7/10

R 154 | Ave 30.8 |HS 50 | SR 129.4

Tamim got starts in every innings but just could not capitalise on it. His 47 and 50 against Sri Lanka in both games were decisive. He failed to get going against India despite the starts.

Sabbir Rahman – 6.5/10 (R 147 | Ave 29.4 |HS 77 | SR 134.9

Shakib Al Hasan – 6/10 (R 14 | Ave 7 |HS 7| SR 87.5 | W 2| Ave 18.5 | Econ R 6.2)

Liton Das – 4.5/10 (R 95 | Ave 19 |HS 43| SR 139.7)

Mehedi Hasan – 4.5/10 (R 29 | Ave 9.7 |HS 19*| SR 152.6 | W 1| Ave 116 | Econ R 7.2)

Nazmul Islam – 4/10 (W 1| Ave 94 | Econ R 7.8)

Soumya Sarkar – 2/10 (R 50 | Ave 10 |HS 24| SR 100 | W 2| Ave 36.5 | Econ R 10.42)

Abu Hider Rony – 2/10 (W  2 | Econ R 10.75)

Taskin Ahmed – 1.5/10 (W 2 | Ave 34 | Econ R 11.3)

***

Finally, the Champions: India

Washington Sundar – 9.5/10

W 8| Ave 14.2 | Econ R 5.7

Sundar was the find of the tournament for India. In days of wrist-spin dominating headlines, Sundar’s rise restores faith in the discipline of finger spin. He used his variations impeccably and beaten batsmen with his flight. Probably, he is the smartest 18-year-old around. He bowled brilliantly in the Powerplay, and ended up with the Man of the Tournament award.

Dinesh Karthik – 9/10

R 85 | Ave|HS 39*| SR 197.7 | Dismissals 5

Karthik does not have an average because he has not been dismissed in the tournament. He produced the unthinkable in the tournament final when he chased down 34 runs off the final two overs, remaining unbeaten of 29 off just 8 balls. It was a last ball six that sealed it for India.

Karthik exhibited good form whenever he got an opportunity to bat. Along with producing one of the finest finishes in limited overs cricket, he was more than neat behind the stumps. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) fans are surely hoping for happy days ahead.

Yuzvendra Chahal – 9/10

W 8| Ave 16.1 | Econ R 6.4

DK’s brilliance in the final took away the limelight from Chahal, whose 3 for 18 restricted Bangladesh to 166. Chahal continued to be India’s prime wicket-taker and he has already gone past Ashish Nehra’s T20I tally to become India’s third highest wicket-taker.

Shikhar Dhawan – 7.5/10

R 198 | Ave 39.6 |HS 90| SR 145.6

Dhawan set the tone for India with the bat. He started with a 90 and kept producing important cameos. He made count of his good form and India benefitted from the starts he gave.

Rohit Sharma – 7.5/10

R 173 | Ave 34.6 |HS 89| SR 136.2

Rohit was not at his devastating best, however, he found form in the later part of the tournament, producing two quality knocks against Bangladesh that played catalyst in the Indian wins. He top-scored for India in final and provided the platform. Rohit’s leadership was impressive and so were his tactics. Though not bowling Suresh Raina in the final and holding back Karthik till too late were surprising calls, he ended up lifting the trophy.

Jaydev Unadkat – 7/10 (W 7 | Ave 19.8 | Econ R 9.9)

Manish Pandey – 6.5/10 (R 134 | Ave 67 |HS 42*| SR 119.6)

Suresh Raina - 5.5/10 (R 103 | Ave 20.6 |HS 47| SR 132)

Shardul Thakur – 5.5/10 (W 6 | Ave 29.3 | Econ R 9)

KL Rahul – 5/10 (R 42 | Ave 21 |HS 24| SR 135.5)

Vijay Shankar – 4/10 (R 17 | Ave 17 |HS 17| SR 89.5 | W 3| Ave 51 | Econ R 9)

Rishabh Pant – 2/10 (R 30| Ave 15 |HS 23| SR 96.8b

Mohammed Siraj – 2/10 (W 1 | Ave 50 | Econ R 12.5)