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India in Finals: A Look Back at How the Men in Blue Have Fared in their Last Five Title Encounters

Hardik Worah |Cricketnext | Updated: September 27, 2018, 5:13 PM IST
India in Finals: A Look Back at How the Men in Blue Have Fared in their Last Five Title Encounters

Image: AP

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India will go into the Asia Cup final on Friday brimming with confidence. After an unimpressive start against Hong Kong, India bulldozed over Pakistan (twice) and Bangladesh to cement their spot in the final. However, on Wednesday, India were tested to their limits as the ever-improving Afghanistan side managed to pull off a dramatic tie in teams' last Super Four encounter.

India have been a force to be reckoned with in multi-nation tournaments but their performance in the finals hasn't always been up to the mark. Here, we look at how the Men in Blue have fared out in the last five finals they have been a part of. Interestingly, all the teams that India have met in these games are from the Asian subcontinent and are/were part of 2018 Asia Cup.

Nidahas Twenty20 Tri-Series 2018 (India won by 4 wickets)

(AFP)

This was the match where Dinesh Karthik broke the hearts of thousands of Bangladeshi cricket fans.

Bangladesh managed to beat Sri Lanka in both the league games and booked a final date with the Rohit Sharma-led side. Their batsmen struggled to get going against Yuzvendra Chahal (3 for 18) and Washington Sundar (1 for 20), but a blistering 50-ball 77, studded with seven fours and four maximums, from Sabbir Rahman led them to 166 for 8 in 20 overs. Mahmudullah (21 in 16) and Mehidy Hasan's (19 in 7) cameos gave Bangladesh a much-required late surge.

India lost Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina early but Rohit took the attack to the bowlers and smashed 56 off 42 deliveries. KL Rahul (24 in 14) and Manish Pandey (28 in 27) too chipped in but couldn't keep up with the required run-rate. India needed 35 off the last 18 balls but Mustafizur Rahman bowled a brilliant 18th over, giving away just one run, and brought the equation down to 34 off 12.

That's when Karthik walked in and clobbered Rubel Hossain for two sixes and two fours as India blazed 22 runs in the 19th over. Vijay Shankar, who looked completely out of rhythm that night, perished off the penultimate delivery with India still needing five runs to win. However, Karthik smoked medium-pacer Soumya Sarkar's half-volley for a flat-batted six over the cover region to pull off a heist.

ICC Champions Trophy 2017 (Pakistan won by 180 runs)

 (Image: AP)

Fakhar Zaman's remarkable 106-ball 114 and Mohammad Amir's game-changing new-ball spell drove Pakistan - then ranked eighth in ODI rankings - to a massive 180-run victory over their arch-rivals India at the Oval.

Asked to bat, Zaman, who blasted 12 fours and three sixes during his stay in the middle, took apart Indian bowlers one by one. The left-hander couldn't have chosen a better match to bring up his maiden ODI century. However, things could have been a lot different if not for Jasprit Bumrah's no-ball. Zaman was caught behind when he was on 3 but replays confirmed that Bumrah had overstepped. Zaman made most of the reprieve and made India pay. Apart from Zaman, Azhar Ali (59), Babar Azam (46), Mohammad Hafeez (56* in 37) and Imad Wasim (25*), all made handy contributions as Pakistan finished on 338 for 4 in their 50 overs.

India still had the batting attack to chase down the imposing total but Amir had other ideas. The left-arm pacer blew away India's majestic top-three, comprising of Rohit Sharma (nought), Shikhar Dhawan (21) and Virat Kohli (5), inside 10 overs to put his team on top. Hardik Pandya, who smashed 76 off 43 balls, looked in some mood before he was run out in the 27th over. Hasan Ali (3 for 19) and Shadab Khan (2 for 60) shared five wickets amongst them but it was only after Amir had wrecked havoc at the start.

Asia Cup 2016 ( India won by 8 wickets)

MS Dhoni win the 2016 Asia Cup trophy in the Shere-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka (Getty Images)

This was the first time Asia Cup was played in the Twenty20 format and the final between Bangladesh and India in Dhaka was further reduced to 15 overs per side due to rain. The home team fought hard but still couldn't match the supremacy of the MS Dhoni-led side.

Bangladesh were 78 for 5 by the end of 12 overs, having failed to score against Bumrah, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. That's when Mahmudullah jumped in and hit 33 off 13 deliveries, decorated with two fours and as many sixes, to propel Bangladesh to 120 for 5. In reply, Rohit fell early but Shikhar Dhawan (60 in 44) and Kohli (41* in 28) added 99 runs for the second wicket to take India to a dominant position. With 19 required off 12 balls, Dhoni battered Al-Amin Hossain for a 6, 4 and 6 in the second last over to give India their sixth Asia Cup title - which they will be defending on September 28.

World Twenty20 2014 (Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets)

Image Credit: Getty Images.

India came into the final unbeaten and were termed favourites against Sri Lanka, but destiny had other plans. The Islanders managed to outclass India by six wickets and gave a fitting farewell to Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in their last T20I game.

It was not going to be easy for Sri Lanka to stop Kohli, who had been in superb form in that tournament. The champion batsman once again looked at his best and notched up a 58-ball 77, including five fours and four sixes. India seemed to be coasting along towards a target of 160 but Sachithra Senanayake, Nuwan Kulasekara and captain Lasith Malinga outfoxed the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni with wide yorkers, conceding just 19 runs in the final four overs.

Chasing a below-par 131, Jayawardene and Sangakkara made key contributions of 24 and 52* respectively. While Jayawardene perished, Sangakkara stayed there till the job was completed. Thisara Perera's 14-ball 23 only made life easier for Sangakkara and Sri Lanka. The two of Sri Lankan greats couldn't have asked for a better farewell from T20I cricket.

West Indies Tri-Nation Series 2013 ( India won by 1 wicket)

File image of MS Dhoni. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

"Magnificent! Magnificent Mahendra! He is unbelievable in so many ways."

Remember Ian Bishop uttering these words on commentary after Dhoni hammered Shaminda Eranga for a six to give India a thrilling one-wicket victory in the tri-series final in West Indies?

India came into this series after a successful 2013 Champions Trophy campaign. Asked to bat, Sri Lanka were 171 for 2 at one stage with Sangakkara (71) and Lahiru Thirimanne (46) chugging along nicely. But the moment Thirimanne got out to Ishant Sharma, Sri Lankan batting fell like a pack of cards. The Angelo Mathews-led side lost their last eight wickets for only 30 runs. Jadeja scalped four wickets, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant and Ashwin picked up two each.

However, the chase did turn out to be that easy as Indians would have expected. The Men in Blue were coasting at 139 for 4 with Rohit batting sedately. However, once he departed for 58, India started to lose momentum. Rangana Herath took four wickets in no time and India were reduced to 182 for 9, with still 20 to get off 22 deliveries. Dhoni didn't go after the experienced duo of Mathews and Malinga and waited for Eranga to come and bowl the final over.

India had to get 15 runs off six balls and Dhoni got the job done with a 6, 4 and 6. It was the same man who had blasted Kulasekara for a six in Mumbai to help India win the 50-over World Cup after 28 years, and the same man once again came back to haunt Sri Lanka in Port of Spain.
First Published: September 27, 2018, 3:18 PM IST
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