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Dhawan, Kohli star as India beat Bangladesh to win sixth Asia Cup title

India clinched the Asia Cup for a record sixth time after beating hosts Bangladesh by eight wickets, riding on Shikhar Dhawan’s scintillating 44-ball-60 in a rain-truncated final in Dhaka on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Mar 07, 2016 09:41 IST
Kushal Phatarpekar

India beat Bangladesh by eight wickets to win the Asia Cup Twenty20 cricket title on Sunday at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan hit a career-best 60 as India won the title for the sixth time. Bangladesh were put into bat and posted 120-5 in a rain-hit game that was reduced from 20 to 15 overs after a two-hour delay.

India won with seven balls to spare, reaching 122-2 as skipper MS Dhoni smashed a towering mid-wicket six to finish the game.

Dhawan and Virat Kohli built a 94-run partnership for the second wicket after India was reduced to 5-1 earlier.

India’s aversion to change has been a constant since their three-match T20 series in Australia. The team has criticised wickets whenever they don’t favour their strength – batting.

On Sunday, India got the conditions that suited the combination perfectly. A bone-dry wicket was on offer for the first time in this series. India even won the toss.

While they did get the wicket of their choice, mother-nature rained over early proceedings. a thunderstorm delayed the game by an hour and a half and changed the playing conditions.

Batters to the fore

The Indian batsmen held their own as they chased down Bangladesh’s first innings total of 120 runs with eight wickets to spare.

Read | Asia Cup final second innings highlights

Chasing a target of 120 off 90 balls, the stage was set for the batsmen to finally deliver on a kind of wicket they were pining to play on since arriving in Bangladesh, a fortnight ago.

Like has been the norm in the series, Kohli once again showed the way. The 27-year-old came in after opener Rohit Sharma departed with just five on the board. Kohli’s entry though calmed the nerves as he complemented Shikhar Dhawan well.

Dhawan strikes form

Dhawan brought up his first half century of the series, finishing with 60 runs. Kohli meanwhile, played a matured knock at the other end with an unbeaten 41. The duo fended off the Bangladeshi attack through the innings with a fine 94-run partnership.

By the time, Dhawan returned to the pavilion, the work had been done. Skipper MS Dhoni (20) came and applied the finishing touches to hand India their first Asia Cup title since 2010.

Bowlers start well

Earlier, skipper Dhoni elected to bowl. Some inspired bowling from R Ashwin, who opened the bowling for the first time in the series, and Jasprit Bumrah, did give India a good start.

However, a counter attack by lower-order batsmen Sabbir Rahman (32) and Mohammadullah (33) looked to have changed the complexion of the game as they led Bangladesh to a respectable total. They were helped by below par performances by pacers Ashish Nehra and Hardik Pandya who conceded over 30 runs each in their three-over spells.

Read | India-Bangladesh Asia Cup final first innings highlights: Mahmudullah takes hosts to 120/5