India wins the inaugural T20 Asia Cup



By Kersi Meher-Homji

Rain or storm, India kept up her magnificent form to win the T20 Asia Cup defeating the host nation Bangladesh by eight wickets with seven balls remaining on Sunday night at Mirpur in Bangladesh.

This was India’s sixth Asia Cup victory, the previous thirteen Asia Cups were in the 50-overs version, having won in 1984, 1988, 1990-91, 1995 and 2010.

For the first time, the 2016 World Cup was played in T20 format.

Having defeated Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and UAE in earlier matches India started the final confidently.

But a thunderstorm almost ruined the match as heavy rains delayed the start with puddles across the outfield. It was a miracle that the match was played although it was reduced to 15 overs a side.

On winning the toss, skipper MS Dhoni had no hesitation in sending Bangladesh in to bat. With Ravi Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah bowling economically and effectively, Bangladesh was in big trouble at 5 for 75 in 11.4 overs.

The rescue operation was affected by Mahmudallah who scored a spectacular 33 from 13 balls, spraying two fours and two sixes and Bangladesh finished with a respectable 5 for 120 in 15 overs, a healthy run-rate of 8.0 per over.

Bangladesh bowlers started well claiming Rohit Sharma for one. But then the consistent Virat Kohli joined Shikhar Dhawan and added 94 runs in 67 balls, Dhawan hitting 60 and Kohli 41 not out.

When Dhoni walked in to bat, India needed 22 runs off 14 balls. As if saying, “No worries”, he slammed 20 runs in six balls with two sixes, his second six won the Asia Cup for India.

It was indeed a nerveless chase. Dhawan was made Man of the Match and Bangladesh’s Sabbir Rahman (who had made 176 runs at 44.00, highest score 80 in this Asia Cup at a Strike Rate of 123.94) the Player of the Series.

Many felt that Kohli deserved this honour having played consistently in this tournament making 153 runs averaging 76.50, highest score 56 not out at a Strike Rate of 110.86.

This convincing victory will inspire India to win the World T20 to be held in India in March-April. The good news for cricket fans in Australia is that we will be able to watch the matches on TV.

But that means waking up in the morning and going to work like zombies after staying up till 3 am most nights!



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