India’s rookie left arm pace bowler Arshdeep Singh showed steely nerves in a highly charged atmosphere and delivered in brilliant style to guide his team to a nerve-wracking five-run victory over Bangladesh by the DLS method in their crucial ICC Men’s T20 World Cup clash at the Adelaide Oval tonight.
Handed over the final over in a rain-truncated Group 2 Super 12 match by captain Rohit Sharma when Bangladesh needed 20 from it, Arshdeep conceded a six off the second ball before changing tactics by switching to bowling round the wicket and stopped the rival team from overtaking the target.
The 23-year-old Guna-born Arshdeep conceded just 14 runs in that dramatic final over to help India squeeze through narrowly for their third win in four games and stay firmly on track for a semi-final berth.
He had in fact brought India back into the game with a twin strike in five balls in the 12th over and then proceeded to show ice-cool nerves at the end.
India took their points tally to six with a match in hand against Zimbabwe, who were upset by the Netherlands in the first match here today, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 6.
Earlier, India had made 184 for six by riding on half centuries from opener K L Rahul (50 off 32 balls) and in-form Virat Kohli (64 in 44) and Bangladesh were off to a blistering start making 60 for no loss in the first six overs and then 66 without losing a wicket in 7 when rains intervened and play was stopped.
When it was restarted, the number of overs were reduced by four and the target was revised to 151 but Das, who compiled his 50 in just 21 balls and then got out for 60 in six more, was run out by Rahul with a brilliant direct hit from mid-wicket to the non-striker’s end.
Das slipped when he and fellow-opener Najmul Shanto were scampering for the second run and was beaten by Rahul’s inch-perfect throw.
That opened the door for India to force a memorable victory with short pitched balls that the Bangladesh batsmen kept on skying to the deep fielders.
From 81 for 1 at the end of nine overs, Bangladesh slumped to 108 for six by the fifth ball of the 13th.
Arshdeep accounted for two of those wickets, Hardik Pandya grabbed two for 28 and Mohammed Shami grabbed one.
Eariier, India owed their total mainly to the half centuries from Rahul and Kohli, his third in four innings, cameo from Suryakumar (30 in 16 balls) and tail-end strikes from Ravichandran Ashwin (13 not out in 6 balls).
Rahul came into the game under tremendous pressure after he had failed to score big in the first three games and batted like a man possessed on a track that offered good bounce and pace.
He set the tone with a short-arm pull for a six over square leg off left arm pacer Shoriful Islam who ended up conceding a staggering 57 runs in four overs.
Rahul saw his captain Rohit Sharma depart in the fourth over. Having escaped being caught in the deep in the third over, Rohit cut Hasan Mahmud straight to short point fielder, the bowler thus atoning for dropping the Indian skipper off Taskin Ahmed.
But Rahul cut the bowler to size by smashing Hasan for a four and a superb back-foot six over covers as India moved to 31 for six at the end of six overs of power play.
Kohli settled in while Rahul cut loose in the ninth over bowled by Shoriful who conceded 24 runs with Rahul striking the bowler for two sixes, one of them declared a no-ball, and as many fours.
In the process the Indian vice-captain also reached 50 in 31 balls, comprising three fours and four sixes and his first notable score in the tournament after falling for 4, 9 and 9 in the first three matches.
Rahul’s stay did not last much longer as he top-edged and was caught at fine leg off Bangladesh skipper and left arm spinner Shakib Ul Hasan. He and Kohli had put on 67 runs for the second wicket.
Suryakumar came in and seemed to carry on from where he left off against South Africa in Perth when he made a cracking 68.
India, at the end of ten overs, were a healthy 86 for 2.
Thirty more were added to the score before Surya left in the 14th over. The innings fell off slightly as Hardik Pandya slapped a shot to backward point and then Dinesh Karthik, who had retained his spot after failing in the first three games, was run out for 7. Axar Patel too couldn’t get going.
Kohli was looking in fine touch at the other end and reached his third half century in this event in 32 balls in the 17th over.
Fortunately for India, Ashwin batted sensibly in the last two overs by giving him the strike. But it was Ashwin who finished the innings on a high by smacking a six and a four in the 20th over. EOM