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Fayez Hoda, Pune

Despite Shubman Gills’s century and a resilient contribution of 42 runs from Axar Patel, their efforts went in vain as Bangladesh showed great composure and clinched an exciting six-run victory. This win marked Bangladesh’s triumph against India in four ODIs during the final Super Fours match of the ongoing Asia Cup 2023.

India had to chase a total of 266 after allowing Bangladesh’s lower-order batsmen to orchestrate a recovery in their own innings. In response, Gill played a role in establishing a foundation with his impressive knock of 121 off 133 balls while Axar injected some late momentum into the chase. However, Axar’s dismissal in the penultimate over ultimately turned the tide in favor of Bangladesh.

Throughout the match, Bangladesh stayed on top most of the time by breaking partnerships at critical junctures. Rohit Sharma fell victim to a delivery on the second ball of India’s chase handing debutant Tanzim Hasan Shakib, his first ODI wicket at cover point. Making a start, to his career young bowler Tanzim then swiftly dismantled Tilak Varma’s stumps to claim two wickets in his opening two overs. He finished an extended six-over opening spell with impressive figures of 6-1-15-2.

Gill took the lead, in the recovery process while batting alongside KL Rahul, who provided assistance during their 54-run partnership for the wicket. After a start, they both settled in and stabilized the innings. However, as Rahul faced dot balls he started feeling the pressure and attempted to accelerate by hitting a delivery from Mahedi Hasan to a fielder at short midwicket resulting in his dismissal. Despite slowing down a bit as he approached 40 runs, Gill reached his century by stepping down the track and lofting Mahedi’s delivery over the cow corner boundary for a six. Nevertheless, Bangladesh made a comeback by taking Ishan Kishan’s wicket.

In the first innings, Bangladesh managed to achieve a total of 265/8 thanks to half-centuries from Shakib Al Hasan (scoring 80 runs from 85 balls) and Towhid Hridoy (scoring 54 runs from 81 balls). Their innings also received a boost from performances by lower-order batsmen after the top order struggled due to shot selection finding themselves at 28/3 shortly after being asked to bat.

The early breakthrough was provided by Mohammed Shami, who delivered a delivery that nipped back in, brushed Litton Das’s pads, and shattered the off-stump. Shardul Thakur further added to India’s advantage by dismissing Tanzim Hasan and Anamul Haque with well-directed short balls.

Shakib took charge of putting a respectable total on the board, forming a crucial 101-run partnership with Hridoy, after the early dismissal of Mehidy Hasan Miraz had left them in a difficult situation at 59/4 within the first 14 overs. Shakib capitalized on the opportunity he received when he was dropped on by KL Rahul on 28, ultimately registering his 55th ODI half-century.

India will now face Sri Lanka in the final of the Asia Cup on Sunday.