Ravi Shastri, on Friday, hailed Team India after their thrilling three-wicket win over Bangladesh in the final of the Asia Cup.
India were in a spot of bother despite restricting Bangladesh to a modest 222 in the title-decider. The Men in Blue lost wickets at regular intervals which allowed the Tigers to claw their way back in the game. However, in the end an injured Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar kept their cool to steer India to victory.
Chasing a modest total, India were in early trouble after the in-form Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu fell early. Rohit Sharma then eased the pressure by playing some delightful shots.
The India skipper hit three fours and as many sixes before falling to Rubel Hossain for 48.
Rohit’s dismissal brought Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni together and even though the latter took his time early on in his innings, there was no pressure on the Indian camp. Gradually, the pair started to find the runs. However, Mahmudullah ended their charge by accounting for Karthik.
The game soon turned on its when Dhoni departed and Kedar Jadhav was retired hurt. However, that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Jadeja joined forces with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and brought India close to their target. The duo ran hard – Jadeja hit just one boundary while Bhuvneshwar hit one six and a boundary with 13 runs needed off the last three overs.
But India managed just 7 from two overs and the final equation was six off six. The first three balls yielded 4 before Kuldeep played a dot ball. It was followed by a single before Mahmudullah fired one down the leg which resulted in one leg-bye as India won the thriller.
Speaking after the match, Ravi Shastri was all praise for India’s intensity after a slow start to the tournament.
“It’s a different format, but I think everyone knows how well we played in England, the scorecard really doesn’t show it. This is a different format and we needed to start afresh. I liked the intensity with which we played, we were a bit flat against Hong Kong in the first match, but pulled up afterwards. The biggest plus was the fielding, game after game, we saved around 30-35 runs in these oppressive conditions,” he told Kevin Pietersen. “We took wickets consistently and during the middle-overs, the bowlers were outstanding, we bowled well with the new ball in tough conditions and then the spinners came to the party.”
Shastri further lavished praise on Rohit Sharma for his captaincy, saying:
“Rohit was a calming influence and it showed on his captaincy. To keep his intensity going even after the start they had, showed he was really cool in every aspect of captaincy, the bowling changes he made were really good, to concede just around 100 runs in the last 30 overs, I thought it was brilliant.”