India too came a long way from their previous two performances to successfully ward off the twin threats — Mustafizur and Banglawash — in the third and the final ODI.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan and the new No.4 Mahendra Singh Dhoni struck crucial fifties, and Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina chipped in with cameos as India didn’t do what they had in the previous games — lose wickets in a heap.
Partnerships kept coming, and thanks to some excellent running between the wickets, the flow of runs never really stalled. Then, with enough wickets in hand, India mounted a late charge, plundering 66 runs in the last 6.3 overs to set Bangladesh a target of 318.
Only once in their history had Bangladesh chased down a bigger target: 319 against Scotland at the 2015 World Cup. But this was a pumped-up Indian bowling and the wicket was slow.
The boot was on the other foot.
Bangladesh needed an emphatic start, but opener Tamim Iqbal, who had smashed 154 and 95 in two of their three previous successful 300 plus chases, was trapped in front by Dhawal Kulkarni for five. It’s really thrilling and unsettling to hear 25,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs.
Bangladesh were keeping up with the required run rate but now they were losing wickets frequently. When Raina made Shakib Al Hasan top-edge one that gripped the surface, the 3-0 hopes were practically over. Sabbir Rahman and Nasir Hossain launched counterattack. At the end of 28 overs, Bangladesh had made as many runs —161 — as India had at a similar stage. However, the host had lost two extra wickets. Stuart Binny broke the brisk 49-run partnership with an off-cutter that crashed through Rahman’s defences. After which it was a matter of not if but when. The spectators began to make an early beeline towards the exits. They had come to the Sher-e-Bangla stadium early, too, expecting a third consecutive series sweep from their team.