Just a few months back, Akbar Ali’s heroics went in vain in the final of the Asia Cup when Bangladesh lost the game by five runs despite bundling India out for 106. But yesterday was different, as the ice-cool wicketkeeper-batsman played a captain’s knock to bring home the trophy.
Although Parvez fell when the team still needed 35, Akbar Ali was unfazed, showing utmost patience and tenacity to see out one of the biggest games of the country’s cricket history. He was duly adjudged the Man-of-the-Match.
He was unbeaten on 43, made in 77 balls, courtesy of four fours and a six. Parvez’s 47-run knock featured seven fours.
Winning the toss, the Bangladesh captain opted to field as his bowlers toyed with the Indian lower order after an 88-run industrious innings from Yashasvi Jaiswal saved his team’s pride.
The Indian side were restricted to 177 on a day only three of their batsmen could reach double figures.
After the fall of the first wicket on nine runs when Shoriful Islam bagged his first of the day, Jaiswal and Tilak Varma (38) made 92 runs in the second wicket, which was broken by Tanzim Hasan Sakib.
Captain Priyam Garg (7) soon fell cheaply and Jaiswal followed suit, after hitting eight fours and a six in a remarkable 121-ball knock.
Jaiswal was the fourth batsman to go, on 156, and in 21 runs India lost their remaining six wickets.
Dhruv Jurel’s 22 was the other notable contribution from an Indian batsman.
Avishek Das was the most successful bowler for Bangladesh, bagging three wickets, while Shoriful and Tanzim claimed two each. Rakibul Hasan, who hit the winning run, took the other India wicket.
Jaiswal was named the Player-of-the-Tournament.
But the trophy and the heart were won by Akbar Ali and his team.