India vs Bangladesh: Tigers’ never-say-die spirit and other talking points from 1st ODI

India and Bangladesh have produced a number of classics over the years, thanks primarily to the latter’s improvement as a side especially in the white-ball formats. From the one-sided matches in the 2000s, the Bangladeshis have come a long way and more often than not, ensure the Men in Blue are made to earn their victory.

The first game of the three-match ODI series between the two sides that took place in Dhaka on Sunday was without a doubt the latest addition in the series of nerve-wracking encounters between the South Asian neighbours.

Read: Twitter reacts to Tigers’ thrilling one-wicket win in 1st ODI

And given the manner in which they fought back from a near-hopeless situation to collect a one-wicket win at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, the Bangla Tigers could very well lay claim to this being one of their greatest victories of all time — right up there with their victory over Kenya in the ICC Trophy final in 1997 or against the Rahul Dravid-led India in the World Cup 10 years later.

Not only did the win help Bangladesh go 1-0 up in the three-match series, it also reasserted their credentials as a team that can go the distance in the ODI World Cup that takes place in India next year where the conditions will not be too different from what the Tigers are used to in their own backyard.

Read: ‘No excuses’, says Rohit after India lose 1st ODI from winning position

The Indians, meanwhile, continue with grapple with issues within their ranks that have plagued them since the T20 World Cup, where they suffered a humiliating exit with a 10-wicket loss at the hands of eventual champions England.

Looking back at the events of the first one-dayer, we bring to you five talking points:

Rahul shines with bat, not so much with gloves

The game witnessed the return of the Rohit Sharma-Shikhar Dhawan opening combination, as a result of which KL Rahul moved down the order to the No 5 slot, between Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar. And while the India vice-captain wasn’t quite having the best of run at the top alongside Rohit in recent games, he showcased his skill as a middle-order bat with a 70-ball 73 against the Bangla Tigers on Sunday, scoring nearly half the runs that the visitors could muster in the opening game.

Rahul also had to don the wicketkeeping gloves with the Indians releasing Rishabh Pant from the squad. And though the Lucknow Super Giants captain did well to collect a catch off Sundar’s bowling to get the key wicket of Litton Das, his dropping a sitter later in the game would prove decisive.

Shakib continues to deliver

Shakib Al Hasan remains a star performer and integral to Bangladesh’s cricketing fortunes at the age of 35. And on Sunday, he played a key role in setting up the victory for Bangladesh, breaking the backbone of the Indian batting order with a display of 5/36 that restricted the Men in Blue to a sub-par 186.

Read: Mehidy-Mustafizur’s record stand, Shakib surpassing Akram and other stats

Shakib removed skipper Rohit just when he was starting to get into his element, and the all-rounder accounted for Kohli’s wicket two balls later, with skipper Litton Das plucking an outstanding catch mid-air. He was well supported by seamer Ebadot Hossain and the two accounted for nine of the 10 Indian wickets that fell, ensuring none other than Rahul could settle at the crease and take the side to a competitive total.

Litton continuing from where he left off

Top-order bat Litton Das has been handed the extra responsibility of leading the side in the absence of regular skipper and senior batter Tamim Iqbal, who has been ruled out of the series with injury. The burden of leadership though, doesn’t appear to have had any impact on his batting as Das got the Tigers off to a confident start in their chase of the 187-run target.

Das, who also dabbles as a wicketkeeper from time to time, scored a patient 41 to rescue his side after they lost the wicket of Najmul Hossain Shanto off the very first delivery of the chase. It’s almost as if Litton’s taking a liking to India — he had smashed a 27-ball 60 against Rohit and Co that could’ve helped Bangladesh win a high-scoring game against India in the recent T20 World Cup had rain not interfered.

Siraj makes up for Shami’s absence

Mohammed Shami’s absence from the one-dayers due to a shoulder injury created a vacuum of sorts in the Indian bowling lineup, a void that appeared to have been filled by Mohammed Siraj on Sunday with his stellar performance of 3/32 in 10 overs. Siraj took the key wicket of Mushfiqur Rahim, the veteran wicketkeeper-batter who has won many a game on his own, right after Kuldeep Sen removed Mahmudullah.

The back-to-back dismissals would trigger a batting collapse as Bangladesh would crumble from 128/4 to 136/9, leaving the Tigers staring at another heartbreak at India’s hands.

Tigers’ never-say-die attitude

The Indians perhaps would’ve assumed the game to be done and dusted by the time Siraj trapped Hasan Mahmud LBW to leave the Bangladeshis reeling on 136/9, needing another 51 runs to win with just one wicket at their disposal. All-rounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who has a Test century to his credit and is more than capable a batter besides his primary role of an off-spinner, was in no mood to give up just yet. All that he needed was support from the other end from No 11 bat Mustafizur Rahman.

Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mustafizur Rahman stitched an unbroken 51-run stand for the 10th wicket to guide Bangladesh to a dramatic one-wicket win over India. AP

The two would then go on to produce one of the most memorable counterattacks in the game, with Mehidy playing the aggressor and Mustafizur protecting his wicket at all costs and ensuring the rotation of strike over after over. Mehidy’s collected four fours and two sixes during his unbeaten 38 off 39 deliveries and knock that would take Indians completely by surprise and helped the Sher-e-Bangla crowd rediscover their voice. In the end, it was only fitting that Miraz got to score the winning run.

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