Asia Cup final: India strangle Bangladesh after Liton’s maiden ton
Liton Das and Mehidy Hasan put on 120 runs for the opening wicket. (Getty Images)

Bangladesh were buoyed by a fine century from opener Liton Das, before the Indian bowlers staged a fabulous comeback to dismiss Bangladesh to 222 in the final of the Asia Cup 2018. Liton struck his maiden hundred in ODIs, one that came off 87 deliveries and helped Bangladesh to a flying start; to an extent that their 100 was up inside 18 overs – their first century partnership for the opening wicket since 2016. However, once India made the breakthrough, Bangladesh lost steam and lost wickets in a flurry with Kuldeep Yadav picking up 3/45.

India were blindsided by the assault that their pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah came in for. With a new opening partner in Mehidy Hasan, Liton dictated terms and scored an over six an over, bringing up the fifty for Bangladesh inside eight overs, the same over in which Yuzvendra Chahal conceded 17 runs, including six sixes. 41 off Bangladesh’s first 58 runs belonged to Liton, who went on to hammer 12 boundaries and two sixes.

Liton was content playing the supporting role, but he too scored a few crisp boundaries. The level of the assault was such that Rohit Sharma waited no less than six overs to introduce spin. To his disappointment, Liton seemed even more effective against Chahal and Kuldeep, playing the sweep shot effectively to bring up his half-century off 33 balls with an enthralling cover drive.

It took India 21 overs and the golden arm of Kedar Jadhav to snap Bangladesh’s 120-run opening stand. And another 12 to get rid of the next four batsmen. Mehidy slapped a short one from Jadhav to find Rayudu at cover, which began the slide. Bangladesh’s stars from the previous game – Mushfiqur Rahim connected the bottom of his bat before holing out to Bumrah in the deep and Mohammad Mithun was run out, finding himself at the same end as Liton.

Mahmudullah became Kuldeep’s first wicket before Liton and Soumya Sarkar tried to resist. But that came at the expense of a weak scoring rate. From 102 for no loss in 18 overs, Bangladesh laboured their way to 165/5 in 37 overs. Liton was bogged down by the loss of wickets at the other end, and after playing out the middle overs watchfully, tried to get a move on with a six off Jadhav and attempted to rattle Kuldeep by stepping down to him and drilling him over his head. Kuldeep however, extracted revenge and foxed him with a googly. Dhoni affected his first stumping, and after a long wait, India were awarded the wicket. His second stumping of Mashrafe Mortaza was also his 800th dismissal in international cricket, the first sub-continental player to do so.

A couple more runouts towards the end prevented Bangladesh from batting their quota of 50 overs.   Bumrah cleaned up Rubel Hossain with a yorker, setting India 223 to lift their eighth Asia Cup title.

Brief score: Bangladesh 222 all out (Liton Das 121, Soumya Sarkar 33, Kuldeep Yadav 3/45) in 48.3 overs.