On this day: Dinesh Karthik’s smashing knock wins India the Nidahas Trophy
On 18th March 2018, India and Bangladesh met in the final of the Nidahas Trophy, the T20I tri-series also featuring hosts Sri Lanka. The tournament was played to commemorate the 70th year of Sri Lankan independence. India were on the verge of losing a tournament final to Bangladesh for the first time in their history before Dinesh Karthik played one of the finest knocks of his career to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
India skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and invited Bangladesh to bat first. In response, the Shakib Al Hasan-led side scored a competitive total of 166 for 8 in the allotted 20 overs. Sabbir Rehman’s 77-run knock helped them put up the challenging total. Sabbir’s knock came off 50 balls and was studded with seven fours and four sixes. For India, Chahal was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3 for just 18 off his four overs while pacer Jaydev Unadkat also picked up a couple.
With the bat, India made a swift start as Rohit hit two fours and as many sixes in the first two overs. On the first ball of the third over, Shikhar Dhawan joined the party too by hitting a six before he and Suresh Raina departed in quick succession to leave India reeling at 32 for 2. But before Bangladesh could make further inroads, Rohit and KL Rahul put India on top with a 51-run stand from only six overs.
15 runs later, Rohit departed too after scoring 56 off 42 balls. And the match which was heading India’s way suddenly took a new turn as Bangladesh clawed their way back into the contest. Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar failed to score runs quickly. They could add only 35 runs off 28 balls when India needed nearly 10 runs per over.
The match looked all but over for India as Karthik walked in with the scoreboard reading 133 for 5. With 34 runs needed from the last 12 balls and Shankar struggling at the other end, a Bangladesh win was looking highly likely.
But Karthik had some other ideas. The veteran batsman needed just three deliveries to show that the match was far from over. He dispatched the first three balls he faced to the boundary as he took pacer Rubel Hussain to the cleaners in the 19th over. Karthik hit one more four in the over to help India collect 22 runs from the penultimate over and bring down the equation to a relatively easier 12 off the last one over.
But while Karthik was firing on all cylinders at one end, Shankar was struggling at the other. He failed to score on the first ball of the last over before taking a single. Karthik then took a single on the third ball before Shankar finally managed to hit a four. But on the very next ball, Shankar holed out at long-off. The equation was finally down to 5 runs off one ball with Karthik on strike. Well, the right-handed batsman had saved his best for the last ball as he drilled a wide half volley from Soumya over the extra cover rope to trigger wild celebration in the stands and the Indian dressing room.