This Day That Year: When MS Dhoni single-handedly saved India’s World T20 campaign

With 11 runs needed and the established pair of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah in the middle, Bangladesh were set to land another crushing blow on India.
India’s MS Dhoni in conversation with Hardik Pandya.(AFP)
India’s MS Dhoni in conversation with Hardik Pandya.(AFP)
Updated on Mar 23, 2020 05:13 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By

The ICC World T20 held in India in 2016 was seen by many as MS Dhoni’s biggest opportunity to add yet another ICC trophy to his cabinet as Team India’s captain. India’s home record was another reason for the optimism and the ‘Men in Blue’ started the tournament as strong favourites. But a crushing loss to a well oiled New Zealand side in Nagpur, where the Kiwi spin duo of Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner made Indian batsmen dance to their tunes, was a huge jolt for both the team and for the fans.

Having lost the first match, the remaining three matches became do-or-die affairs for the team. The juggernaut started rolling with a comprehensive win over arch rivals Pakistan at Eden Gardens and then reached Bengaluru where India took an a dangerous Bangladesh side.

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The match took place on March 23, 2016, exactly four years from this day. A packed Chinnaswamy stadium waited in anticipation for the hosts to make a dash for a big score, after being put into bat by the opposition. But the Indian team failed to get going. All the top order batsmen got starts but no one went on to score a big total, India finished their 20 overs with a below par total of 146/7. Suresh Raina top scored for India with a 23-ball 30.

The Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru is nota stadium with huge boundaries and Bangladesh had several attacking batsmen in their line-up who make a mincemeat of India’s bowling.

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Ravichandran Ashwin gave India an early breakthrough but Tamin Iqbal (35) stitched crucial partnerships with Sabbir Rehman (26) and Sakib al Hasan (22) to take Bangladesh closer to the target. But some tight bowling by the Indians and regular fall of wickets meant the match went to the last over.

With 11 runs needed and the established pair of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah in the middle, Bangladesh were set to land another crushing blow on India. MS Dhoni, who made a name for himself as captain for making bold decisions in crunch situations, handed the ball to the young Hardik Pandya.

Pandya started by giving away a single but then was hit for back to back boundaries by the diminutive Mushfiqur Rahim. Ecstasy was written all over the faces of the two Bangladesh batsmen as Indian fans and players felt the pressure of being knocked out of a home World T20.

With Bangladesh needing 2 to win off 3 deliveries, what followed was a cricketing suicide. Rahim and Mahmudullah played irresponsible shots and were caught in the deep on successive deliveries as the match turned on its head.Bangladesh needed 2 runs to win off the last ball and one run to force a super over.

Shuvagata Hom failed to connect as the ball went straight into Dhoni’s gloves. The batsmen charged to take a bye but Dhoni had the presence of mind to not throw and dismantle the stumps with his hands. Mustafizur Rahman was given run out by the third umpire and India won by a solitary run to keep their hopes alive in the tournament.

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