Indian spinners led the show in defence of 177    AFP
Indian spinners led the show in defence of 176 AFP

In the fifth encounter of Nidahas Trophy 2018, India edged past Bangladesh by 17 runs to secure a place for the summit clash. The final will be played on Sunday, March 18. Riding on Rohit Sharma‘s 89 and Suresh Raina (47), India posted 176 for 3 and got over the line courtesy brilliant spin bowling by Washington Sundar (4-0-22-3) and Yuzvendra Chahal (4-0-21-1). Mushfiqur Rahim battled hard and became the first Bangladeshi to slam consecutive T20I fifties, but did not find adequate support like the previous encounter. In pursuit of 177, Bangladesh were off to a poor start. Tamim Iqbal looked solid from the onset, but lost momentum courtesy fall of wickets in the other end. Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar perished soon, but Tamim kept the runs coming. He bludgeoned Shardul Thakur for 19 runs in his first over, including three fours and a six. Nonetheless, just like Sarkar and Liton’s wickets, Sundar removed Tamim as well. Sundar is now the leading wicket-taker of the tournament.

At 40 for 3, Mahmudullah joined in-form batsman Mushfiqur. Mahmudullah struck consecutive boundaries to get off the mark, and Mushfiqur carried on from where he left during Saturday’s match-winning knock versus Sri Lanka. Chahal sent Mahmudullah back to the hut. The Bangladesh skipper lost his patience, and fell on a poorly-timed pull.

Mushfiqur struck a fluent stand with Sabbir Rahman (65-run stand) the best fifth wicket partnership for Bangladesh. The duo targeted Vijay Shankar (who was impressive for most parts of his spell), and Mohammed Siraj. Mushfiqur, in particular, read the deliveries well and played impressive shots. He picked the bowlers, and ensured to churn out maximum from them. In addition, he kept Sabbir on his toes with his shot selection.

Requiring 73 off 42 balls, Bangladesh were very much in the hunt. Needing slightly more than 10, they knew they had in-form Rahim in the middle. However, things became tough with tidy overs from Sundar, Shankar and Thakur. Sundar kept it outside off stump, and stuck to the plan without going overboard. Shankar used the slower deliveries from time to time.

Sabbir departed in the 17th over. Thakur bounced back beautifully after being struck for 19 runs in his first over, and removed Sabbir with a slower one. Mushfiqur didn’t stop though. He applied scoop shot, and found ways of scoring despite the required run-rate climbing up. Surviving a waist high full-toss off Siraj, he didn’t give up till Bangladesh required 28 off the last over (courtesy Thakur’s penultimate over).

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka’s clash now becomes a virtual semi-final for a spot in the tournament finale.

Brief scores

India 176 for 3 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 89, Shikhar Dhawan 35, Suresh Raina 47; Rubel Hossain 2 for 27) beat Bangladesh 159 for 6 in 20 overs (Tamim Iqbal 27, Mushfiqur Rahim 72*, Sabbir Rahman 27; Washington Sundar 3 for 22, Yuzvendra Chahal 1 for 21) by 17 runs.