On this Day in 2018: Dinesh Karthik lights up the Nidahas Trophy final

Dinesh Karthik's 29 off 8 helped India beat Bangladesh in the Nidahas Trophy final
Dinesh Karthik's 29 off 8 helped India beat Bangladesh in the Nidahas Trophy final

It’s been two years since India squared off against Bangladesh in the final of the Nidahas Trophy. The tri-nation tournament between India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka was played to commemorate the 70th year of Sri Lankan independence.

India and Bangladesh made it to the final after an underwhelming performance from the island nation right through the group stages. The final itself saw India win the toss and elect to field.

The Bangla Tigers put up a competitive 166/8 on the board on the back of a 50-ball 77 by the then 26-year-old Sabbir Rahman. Mehidy Hasan and Mahmudullah also chipped in with some handy cameos.

In response, India found themselves tottering at 133-4, and still needing 34 runs off the last 12 balls. In walked Dinesh Karthik, all set to make a statement.

The wicketkeeper was determined to turn the game around, and that is exactly what he did. Karthik dispatched the first three balls he faced to the boundary, progressively moving from straight over Rubel Hossain’s head off the first ball to square on the leg-side off the third. 16 runs came off the first 3 balls the current Tamil Nadu captain faced.

Another boundary of that Hossain over ensured that India got 22 runs from the penultimate over and would need to score a relatively easier 12 off the last one.

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The drama did not end there. Soumya Sarkar bowled what was a disciplined final over apart from the one boundary off Vijay Shankar’s bat. Sarkar got the all-rounder’s wicket off the 5th ball of the over, thanks to a good effort from Mehidy Hasan, who came running in from long-off and plucked the ball after it popped out of long-on’s hands.

Shankar’s dismissal saw Washington Sundar walk out into the middle with 5 runs needed off the last ball. However, the ball was up in the air long enough for the batsmen to cross each other, which meant that Karthik would be on strike for the last delivery.

Sarkar’s last ball was ever-so-slightly overpitched and wide outside the off-stump, right in Karthik’s slot. The Chennai-born right-hander would hit it flat and hard over the cover boundary, allowing the Indian dugout to erupt in celebration.

The match helped establish Karthik as a finisher and his shot at redemption was complete. Taking India to victory from an unlikely position, the wicketkeeper made sure the Indian fans had a moment to savour for years to come.

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