In the third and the final T20I between India and Bangladesh in Nagpur, it was all to play for both the sides. After levelling the series in Rajkot, the series decider at the Vidarbha Cricket Association unfolded in the favor of the Indians as the young brigade stood up to the task and won the T20I series against the Bangla Tigers.
Bangladesh, on the other hand, were rendered helpless as the inexperience in their side came to the fore in the dying moments of the game. Despite doing much of the things correct for nearly three quarters of the match, the batting line-up failed to lead their side to victory, in what could have been a stellar performance and a record win.
After winning the toss on a historically slow pitch in Nagpur, Mahmudullah decided to bowl first considering India’s strength lies in chasing and the amount of dew that would make batting easy in the second innings.
It was a dream start for the visitors as Rohit Sharma was cleaned-up in the second over of the innings. Shikhar Dhawan, however, looked in better nick as he creamed 4 fours of his willow. However, it was the partnership between KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer that got back India back in the game after a couple of early wickets.
Rahul once again showed his class with an effortless 52 off 35 balls. Once he departed, it was an Iyer-show who brought up his maiden T20I fifty to put India in the driver’s seat. In his 33-ball stay at the crease, the Mumbai-lad showed his power to hit towering sixes and elegance in piercing the gaps with immaculate timing.
To add the finishing touches to the innings, Manish Pandey also joined the party with his quickfire 22 off 13 balls. He propelled India to a total of 174 in 20 overs, leaving Bangladesh with 175 runs to chase and seal their maiden series victory against their neighbors.
Chasing 175, the visitors were dented early as Deepak Chahar struck twice in his first over. Following this a steady partnership between opener Mohammad Naim and Mohammad Mithun gradually began to seize control of the evenly-poised match until then. The two added 98 runs for the third wicket before Chahar picked another wicket to send Mithun back in the pavilion. Naim, however, was making life miserable for the Indian bowlers with his majestic hitting.
On the other hand, he was beginning to lose partners as Shivam Dube’s third over became the turning point when he struck gold to clean bold Mushfiqur Rahim on a golden duck to put India right back into the game. It was a flurry of wickets thereafter, as the tourists lost their way.
Even Naim fell to an accurate yorker from Dube, who saw curtains on his inspiring innings, which never proved enough to drive his side home in the series finale. Chahar, in his final over, bagged three wickets on three balls to complete a maiden T20I hat-trick for an Indian bowler. He finished with figures of 6/7 in just 3.2 overs to record the best-ever figures for any bowler in T20I history.
In the end, the Bangla Tigers were bowled out for 144 as India emerged victorious by 30 runs to claim the series 2-1 in what panned out to be a topsy-turvy ride. Both the sides will now feature in a two-match Test series starting from 14th November in Indore.
Author – CricNerds
Cover picture credits: Free Press Journal