Alive, by a hair's breadth!

Alive, by a hair's breadth!

With a thrilling one-run win over Bangladesh, India stay in contention for a semifinal spot

Alive, by a hair's breadth!

India did their best to lose the match but Bangladesh somehow contrived to snatch defeat in an encounter that had the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats.

Hardik Pandya emerged the unlikely hero for India as he defended 11 runs in dramatic fashion here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday. Bangladesh had scored nine runs off the first three balls and victory for the visitors appeared a forgone conclusion. 

Mushfiqur Rahim, who had hit two fours in the previous two balls, holed out to Shikhar Dhawan in the deep off the fourth ball. Mahmudullah, who had crossed over, fell in the similar way with Ravindra Jadeja holding on to a difficult chance.

The equation now came to two runs off the last ball. Pandya would have felt the pressure of whole world on his young shoulders but the 22-year-old held his nerve and beat Shuvagata Hom. Non-striker Mustafizur Rahman ran to complete a single in a bid to force a tie and Super Over but MS Dhoni out-ran him to shatter the stumps. The celebrations had to wait as the decision went to third umpire and when it flashed "out" on the big screen, there was an ear-splitting roar from the capacity crowd.

The one-run win may not have helped India improve their poor net run-rate in a big way but it definitely kept them in race for the knockouts. Bangladesh, on the other hand, were dumped out after their third successive loss.

For the record, India, after being put into bat first, stuttered to 146 for seven on a slow pitch. In reply, Bangladesh managed 145 for nine.

India have to blame themselves for the position they got into. Tamim Iqbal was dropped on 15; he went on to score 25 more runs. Shakib Al Hasan was let off on eight; the southpaw added 14 more. Soumya Sarkar scored six more after being reprieved on 15. These 45 extra runs threatened to spoil India’s party before Bangladesh buckled under pressure.

If the capacity crowd were hoping for a run fest, they were left disappointed as a disciplined Bangla attack and slow pitch blunted India’s stroke play. For the first time in five matches, the Indian openers got off to a decent start. The 42-run stand between the two was their second best in eight matches after a 43-run partnership against UAE in the Asia Cup. 

Virat Kohli walked out to a rock star welcome but the crowd went into silence again when Dhawan was trapped in front by a wily Shakib after Rohit had got out to a miscued hoick. If India thought the two sixes by the openers had provided them the momentum they needed, the two quick dismissals transferred the pressure right back on to them. The pressure especially on Suresh Raina was telling as he struggled to get going and when he brought up his first boundary, a six, off Al-Amin Hossain he was lucky to survive as the ball barely cleared the man at deep mid-wicket. This was also the first boundary in 30 balls of the partnership between Kohli and Raina. Though Kohli was picking singles and twos, the boundaries were missing. The crowd began to chant “we want six” and the right-hander obliged them immediately with a swept six off Shuvagata Hom. This was Kohli’s first boundary after 22 balls and it turned out to be his only boundary as he was bowled while attempting a similar shot, after a partnership of 50 off 40 balls.

Hardik Pandya briefly lit up the scene with a mighty six and a couple of fours but he fell to a brilliant catch by Sarkar at mid-wicket fence off Al-Amin. The previous ball, Raina had perished while attempting a pull. Yuvraj Singh denied the bowler the hat-trick but didn’t last long. It was left to Dhoni then to shore up India’s total. The skipper got a handy support from Jadeja as India managed a competitive score. 

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