Mahmudullah © Getty Images (File Photo)
Mahmudullah turned the tide of the match with his late cameo © Getty Images (File Photo)

Mahmudullah played an invaluable cameo to take Bangladesh to a competitive 120 for 5 against India in the rain-shortened final of Asia Cup T20 2016 at Mirpur on Sunday. Mahmudullah scored a tremendous 13-ball 33 not out, rescuing a floundering Bangladesh innings. India won the toss and elected to bowl first, with MS Dhoni — captaining for the 200th time in international cricket — opting to revert to his preferred line-up by recalling Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashish Nehra, and Ravindra Jadeja, who had been replaced by Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Pawan Negi for the match against UAE. The move proved to be successful, as Ashwin was the pick of India’s bowlers with figures of 1 for 14 in his full quota of 3 overs. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup T20 2016 Final at Mirpur

Ashwin got rid of dangerous-looking Shakib Al Hasan for 21 off 16 balls. Ashish Nehra was hit for 3 fours in one over, but ended up taking the wicket of the free-flowing Soumya Sarkar as well. Jadeja’s first two overs were rather indifferent, but he came back with a superb final over in the death giving just 7 runs, with a couple of wickets falling in the over too. Live Cricket Updates: India vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup T20 2016 Final at Mirpur

Bangladesh were never able to string together two productive oversat a go. Ashwin opened bowling and started with a quiet over. Nehra too managed to keep things quiet in his first over though his second one was expensive. However, in between that Jasprit Bumrah bowled two excellent overs so Bangladesh was never let off the leash. Shakib and Sabbir Rahman started looking good in the middle overs but Ashwin returned and got rid of Shakib in his final over, that again put the breaks on Bangladesh’s innings. READ: MS Dhoni becomes first captain to lead in 200 international matches

Bangladesh had limped to just 64 for 3 in the 10th over. Mushfiqur Rahim and Sabbir then tried to twirl their bats but a mixture of good fielding and poor running resutled in Mushfiqur being run out for 4. Mushfiqur put in a good dive and made his ground, but failed to ground his bat. He was run out with the bat over the iine but in the air. Mashrafe Mortaza promoted himself to bat ahead of the in-form Mahmudullah. If he hoped that emulating MS Dhoni in the 2011 World Cup would have a positive effect on the innings, he was proven wrong off his first ball. Mortaza tried to hit Jadeja over the fielder but only ended up holing out to Virat Kohli in the deep.

That was when Mahmudullah came in and played a game-changing innings. He got braces off each of his first two overs before finding the boundary. He then carted Hardik Pandya for two sixes and a four in his next over. It took a typically skilful final over from Bumrah to keep a rampaging Mahmudullah in check as Bangladesh finished 120 for 5.

Brief scores:

Bangladesh 120 for 5 in 15 overs (Sabbir Rahman 32*, Mahmudullah 33*; Jasprit Bumrah 1 for 13, Ravichandran Aswhin 1 for 14) vs India.

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(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is an animal lover and comic, film and TV geek. A fast bowler at heart, he enjoys watching a good, low-scoring game of cricket. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)