‘Fearless cricket’ — Bangladesh praised after India near-miss

Bangladesh’s captain Shakib Al Hasan, right, congratulates his Indian counterpart Rohit Sharma after the finals of Nidahas triangular Twenty20 cricket series in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, March 18, 2018. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
Updated 19 March 2018
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‘Fearless cricket’ — Bangladesh praised after India near-miss

COLOMBO: India captain Rohit Sharma praised Bangladesh for their “fearless cricket” after the Twenty20 minnows came within one ball of a shock victory in the tri-series final in Colombo.
Tenth-ranked Bangladesh pushed their illustrious neighbors all the way in Sunday’s final before wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik smashed a six off the last ball to secure a four-wicket win.
With the packed 20,000 crowd cheering India, in anger at Bangladesh’s tactics in the semifinal, Karthik’s eight-ball 29 clinched it after a tense, 167-run chase that saw Bangladesh concede 35 runs off the final two overs.
But Sharma, who gave his team a blazing start with a 42-ball 56, said Bangladesh were a “very good team” who have vastly improved over the past three years.
“(Bangladesh) play fearless cricket, it’s always good. Sometimes, it can bite you when things don’t go your way but that is the style of cricket they want to play,” Sharma told reporters after the final.
“They are certainly a very good team... in the last three years, we’ve seen how they’ve changed their style of cricket.
“A few of the guys who are experienced are nurturing the younger guys.”
Sharma said the unusual Sri Lankan support for his team had been “very crucial” at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
Home fans were angry at Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan briefly withdrawing his batsmen in the final over of their win over Sri Lanka in protest at an umpiring decision.
“We didn’t feel that we were playing outside India,” the captain said. “They supported us throughout the course of 40 overs.”
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, who registered two half-centuries in the series, senior batsman Mahmudullah and skipper Shakib Al Hasan played key roles as the Tigers beat hosts Sri Lanka twice to book the title clash with third-ranked India.
Bangladesh’s Rubel Hossain, who sent down the 19th over in the final that conceded 22 runs, and Soumya Sarkar, who was entrusted with the final six balls which went for 13, were the unfortunate bowlers on the receiving end of Karthik’s explosive innings.
But Sharma had comforting words for Soumya, an occasional medium-pace bowler, after his final ball disappeared for six as Karthik took India to 168 for 6. Soumya conceded just seven runs from his first four deliveries and then had Vijay Shankar caught at long-on with the fifth, leaving India needing five runs.
But his wide half-volley was drilled over the extra cover rope by Karthik as the India dressing room erupted in wild celebrations.
“We always knew Soumya Sarkar is not a premier bowler. He’s a part-time bowler at the most,” said Sharma.
“It can happen to anyone when you bowl those big overs. It’s never easy at the death. The pressure is always on the bowler not the batsman,” he added.
Shakib also lauded the performance of his team, who have never won a T20 match against India in eight meetings so far and have also lost 11 of their last 14 games in the shortest format.
“We were very close but in the end India was on the winning side. Credit goes to them but we cannot take anything away from us for the way we played throughout this tournament,” said Shakib.
“We have showed some good character and played the game in the right spirit and I cannot ask more than that from my team,” the all-rounder added.


Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

Updated 23 March 2019
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Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

SHARJAH: Aaron Finch's fine century drove Australia to a convincing eight-wicket win over a new-look Pakistan in the first one-day international on Friday.
The Austraian skipper scored 116 off 135 balls for his 12th one-day international century that helped his team overhaul the 281-run target in 49 overs on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch.
The win gives Australia the lead in the five-match series and has come on the back of their 3-2 series win in India earlier this month.
Finch's match-winning knock overshadowed Haris Sohail's maiden one-day hundred (101 not out) which helped Pakistan to 280-5 in their 50 overs.
The 32-year-old smashed Shoaib Malik for a huge six towards deep mid-wicket to complete his century -- his first since June last year against England at Chester-Le-Street -- off 120 balls.
Finch, who knocked four sixes and eight boundaries, added an innings-building 172 runs for the second wicket with Shaun Marsh who scored an unbeaten 91 off 102 balls with four boundaries and two sixes.
With 46 needed Finch became Mohammad Abbas's maiden wicket but Peter Handscomb hit 30 not out to help Marsh cross the line.
Finch and Marsh came together after opener Usman Khawaja fell for 24 to medium pacer Faheem Ashraf, the only other success Pakistan's new-look bowling attack could achieve.
Pakistan rested six of their key players including regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in order to keep them fresh for the World Cup starting in UK from May 30.
But the young and inexperienced Pakistan led by Malik proved no match for Australia, who are on a roll after their win in India earlier this month.
Left-hander Sohail, who reached 1,000 runs in his 27th one-day international when on 40, anchored Pakistan's innings, adding 98 for the third wicket with Umar Akmal who made a 50-ball 48 in his first international match for two years.
Sohail took a single to complete his hundred in the last over, finishing with six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan had handed one-day debuts to opener Shan Masood and Abbas -- who have played 15 and 14 Tests respectively.
Masood put on 35 in an opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq (17) before off-spinner Nathan Lyon dismissed Imam in the seventh over, caught and bowled.
Masood, who hit five boundaries in his 62-ball 40, was then bowled by paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile who finished with 1-38 in his 10 overs.
Umar smashed three sixes in one Jhye Richardson over but fell one short of his half century.
Malik fell for 11 and Ashraf and Imad Wasim scored 28 each.
Wasim hit four boundaries and a six during his 13-ball unbeaten knock, helping Pakistan to 55 runs in the last five overs.
Sunday's second ODI is also being played in Sharjah, with the third in Abu Dhabi (March 27) and the last two in Dubai (March 29 and 31).