When all seemed lost, Indian captain Rohit Sharma emerged at No.9 for that one final onslaught that would take his team as close to the target as possible.
Ten balls into the second ODI, a ball from Mohammed Siraj took the edge of Anamul Haque’s bat and flew to second slip. Rohit dropped the catch and left the arena, then the stadium – for the hospital. X-rays revealed a dislocated thumb. They needed to stitch his top hand.
The Indian fast bowlers, meanwhile, reduced Bangladesh to 69-6, only for Mahmudullah (77) and Mehidy Hasan Miraz (100 not out) to lift them to 271-7. In Rohit’s absence, Virat Kohli opened batting with Shikhar Dhawan. India quickly became 65-4 before Shreyas Iyer (82) and Axar Patel (56) staged a fightback.
India lost their fourth wicket on 172, which triggered a collapse, and they soon became 207-7. Rohit had decided to bat in oversized gloves to accommodate his stitched thumb. It was merely a question of when. With only Siraj and Umran Malik – non-batters, really – left to bat, he walked out to join Deepak Chahar.
Rohit and Chahar decided to take the match deep. They let Shakib Al Hasan complete his quota, but when Ebadot Hossain took out Chahar (India needed 59 in 29), Rohit decided that it was time. Siraj got a run off the first ball he faced.
Two of Ebadot’s next three balls were short. Rohit has been out hooking of late, but with little to lose, he lofted both over deep square-leg into the stands. When Ebadot pitched up, he cover-drove for four. 41 in 24.
Ebadot, too, had bowled out, which meant that the last two overs would be bowled by Mehidy and Mustafizur Rahman. India’s chances improved significantly when Mehidy hobbled off after bowling the first ball and had to be replaced by Mahmudullah. Yet, Siraj’s lack of batting prowess meant India got a solitary run off the over – and none off the next, from Mustafizur.
With 40 to score in two overs, Rohit lofted Mahmudullah for six over deep mid-wicket, then ran for two off a wide. Another six followed, and with both Ebadot and Anamul dropping catches, Rohit brought the target down to 20 from seven balls. Siraj, on strike for a ball, had little option but to have an almighty hoick: he missed again, and Mahmudullah struck timber.
India still needed 20. Mustafizur beat Rohit’s bat, but with the off-side field up behind square, Rohit hit two boundaries through backward point. Mustafizur beat Rohit again, but Rohit timed the fifth ball beautifully to clear the straight boundary. He had reached 50 in 27 balls after scoring four off the first 11.
Yet, there was no fairytale end. Mustafizur, one of the finest death bowlers in the world, bowled an excellent yorker. With his top hand not at its best, Rohit went for a slog – and missed.
It was not to be.