A whitewash over Australia down under, a series win over Sri Lanka at home and victory in the first ever T20 Asia Cup has established India as the team to beat and they were also the official world no 1 in T20 cricket, going into the tournament.
But a shock loss to New Zealand in their opening Super 10 encounter meant, the remaining three matches were must win for Dhoni and his men if they had any chance of progressing to the semi-finals.
A clinical victory over arch-rivals Pakistan had brought the campaign back on track and India were the odds on favourites in their next match against Bangladesh at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru, exactly a year from this date.
Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field first in the day and night encounter. Most of the batsmen in the Indian top order got starts but no one really got going for long enough to help the hosts put up a big total. MS Dhoni yet again failed to provide a late flourish and the 'Men in Blue' had to be content with a below par total of 146/7.
The tension in the stadium and on the faces of the Indian players was palpable as they came out to field as they knew the Bangladeshi batsmen's ability to get quick runs on the board. R Ashwin gave India an early breakthrough but the duo of Tamim Iqbal (35) and Shabbir Rahman (26) took charge of the chase and put Bangladesh in a comfortable position.
Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya struck key blows to bring India back in the match but Soumya Sarakar, who generally plays as an opener, came out to bat in the middle order and hit some meaty blows to keep the match firmly in the balance. The wily old Ashish Nehra helped India see the back of Sarkar for 21 as the match went down to the wire with Bangladesh needing 17 off the last two overs.
With Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim in the middle, Bangladesh had two recognised batsmen out there, who could do the job. But an inspired Jasprit Bumrah bowled an excellent 19th over, giving away only 6 runs to make the equation slightly tough for Bangladesh as they now needed 11 runs to win off the last over.
Hardik Pandya was handed the ball by MS Dhoni as an expectant Chinnaswamy crowd rallied behind the hosts. Mahmudullah could only get a single off the first ball. But the diminutive Rahim hit the next to deliveries to the boundary, and India were on the cusp of being knocked out of the WT20.
Just two runs were needed off three deliveries and this is where the Bangladeshis suffered a brain snap. Rahim tried to be the hero by looking to hit a maximum over mid-wicket, but a slower delivery from Pandya meant the Bangladeshi wicket-keeper was caught in the deep by Ravindra Jadeja.
Two runs were needed off two deliveries now and Mahmudullah was on strike. Pandya bowled a lower full-toss and Mahmudullah went for the jugular. The slog turned into a miss-hit and Jadeja, India's best fielder, ran in from the deep to take an excellent catch under pressure.
The equation was now in India's favour but anything could have happened. Shuvagata Shom failed to connect with Pandya's last delivery but the non-striker, Mustafizur Rahman, jetted off from his crease to try and earn a tie by stealing a single. But the experienced Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn't let that happen as he collected the ball and rather than trying to aim it at the stumps, ran down and broke the wickets.
Mustafizur was run out and India had won the match by a solitary run. The hosts had pulled off a miracle and got out of jail.
First Published: March 23, 2018, 11:00 AM IST