England and India did not lose their matches against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh because they did not give up till the last ball © Getty Images and Photo Courtesy Twitter respectively
England and India did not lose against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, respectively, because they did not give up till the last ball © Getty Images and Photo Courtesy Twitter respectively

Just like us mortals, not many cricketers want to be involved in close finishes; some others, on the other hand, die to see themselves in pressure situations so that they bring out the best in them when their temperament is put to test.  Close finishes teach players a lot. They help them perform under pressure, which help them thrive under crunch situations in future, helping them to pull off close victories. Players develop the art of dealing with tight situations which gives their careers a kick. Some like Australia succeed more often than not, while that c-word keeps on happening to teams like South Africa at times. Some teams make careless mistakes while fielding, bowling or batting when the match heads into the last overs. In the past few matches, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have paid the price for celebrating in crunch situations before the matches actually got over, and ended up gifting the matches to the opponents. ALSO READ: Why Kumble is ideal choice for India coach?

It is thus rightly said, “It’s not over till it’s over.” Teams need to get back to their basics and know what will cost them the match if they become complacent. Here is a look at two matches, one involving India and Bangladesh from ICC World T20I 2016, while the other featured England and Sri Lanka from ODI in the 2016 series:

India vs Bangladesh, WT20 2016: Host India’s third game of the Super 10 round from the WT20 2016 was against Bangladesh. India, had won and lost one apiece, and had a crucial match against an out-of-form Bangladesh, who had lost their first two encounters. The match was still not a dead rubber for the quarter-finalists of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and they did come back hard on the Indians. Winning the toss and bowling first, Mashrafe Mortaza and co. bowled well to restrict the reputed Indian batting line-up for 146 for 7 in 20 overs. All Indian batsmen got starts but failed to score fifty and take the team to a competitive total. In reply, Bangladesh kept on losing wickets in regular intervals, were still favourites to pull off their maiden T20I win against India.

Needing 19 runs off the final 2 overs, MS Dhoni called his best death over bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who had a forgettable day on the field till then. Bumrah did what he does well — he bowled yorkers right on target which left 11 runs off 6 balls for the hosts to defend.

Dhoni brought in Hardik Pandya for the last over, a decision that surprised everyone who were hooked to their television channels and off the field. Pandya conceded a single in the first ball, while the next two were boundaries off the bat of Mushfiqur Rahim. Bangladesh needed only 2 off 3 balls to seal the deal.

Rahim celebrated as he knew he was left with formalities but this is where he was in for a shocker. India managed to pull things back by picking up the wickets of Rahim and Mahmudullah with the next two balls. Mustafizur Rahman ran frantically for a bye in the last ball but fell short. As a result, India pulled off a heist and remained alive in the tournament. They entered the semi-finals but bowed out losing to eventual champions, West Indies.

Sadly, Bangladesh’s premature celebrations when the job was not completely done cost them the match and dented their progress in the tournament. The insane twist in events was seen and witnessed by everyone glued to the televisions as well as players from other teams. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka did not pay attention to the carelessness shown by Bangladesh on the field that day and paid the price in the first ODI of the five-match series against England.

Liam Punkett's last ball six broke the hearts of the Sri Lankans as they paid the price of celebrating before the match ended © Getty Images
Liam Plunkett’s last-ball six broke the hearts of the Sri Lankans as they paid the price of celebrating before they were confirmed of a victory © Getty Images

England vs Sri Lanka, First ODI, Trent Bridge: Sri Lanka batted first and posted a healthy total of 286 for 8 in 50 overs. When they came out to defend the score, their bowlers were on top and pushed England on the back foot. The score for the hosts, England, was 82 for 6 but the match was not over. This was one strange close encounter as no team showed signs of panic but Sri Lanka should have won the battle if they would have learned from Bangladesh.

England needed 10 off 2 balls. Chris Woakes was on strike, and was playing with confidence. He stroked the ball towards deep square-leg and Sri Lanka’s inexperienced side started celebrating. Their body language almost reflected overconfidence, as if they had the match in their grasp. In the process, they allowed the focused England players, Liam Plunkett and Woakes to run three. Full Cricket Scorecard: England vs Sri Lanka 2016, 2nd ODI at Edgbaston

The match was still not over as the hosts wanted 7 off 1 ball. Nuwan Pradeep attempted a yorker, ending up bowling an over-pitched delivery; Plunkett smacked the ball with full power for a big, straight six. As a result, the match was tied when it should have been won by the visitors. It showed the complacence of Sri Lanka; when they could have taken a lead in the series but had to settle for a draw. ALSO READ:Chris Woakes: I feel more established as an England cricketer

Cricket is a funny game. No match gets over till the last ball is bowled. Panicking in the last few overs is common, and the cricketing arena has been a witness to it; but being careless and celebrating before the match, is a near-sin, to say the least. A team can be on the top of their game for most part of the match, but being overconfident leads to their own downfall. This jolts the confidence of the entire squad and it takes time for them to comeback. It will be interesting to see how many teams continue with the same mistake.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)