Bangladeshi media on Saturday lauded the national cricket team’s spirited showing in the Asia Cup final after they went down to favourites India in a last-ball thriller in Dubai.
Opener Liton Das slammed his maiden one-day international century in Bangladesh’s modest 222 but it was the bowlers who made India sweat in their nervy chase of the 50-over contest.
A 45-run sixth wicket stand between Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and a gritty 23-run unbeaten knock by Kedar Jadhav, who was limping due a hamstring injury, finally gave India a three-wicket win.
India, led by Rohit Sharma, could not rest until a leg-bye off the final ball of the innings completed their chase for their seventh Asia Cup title.
A Daily Star headline read: “Tigers falling agonisingly short.”
“Despite the batting implosion after their brightest start of the tournament, it was a bowling effort that Bangladesh can be proud of as they seemed out of the game on numerous occasions but clawed their way back each time,” the country’s biggest-selling English newspaper wrote.
Another English-language daily New Age headlined its report “Brave Bangladesh fall just short”, with an accompanying picture of Mahmudullah lying on the pitch after he failed to accomplish a run out of Kumar.
The newspaper hailed Bangladesh’s batting hero and man-of-the match Das as “next big thing in Bangladesh” in a separate article, saying that with each stroke en route to his 121 off 117 balls, the 23-year-old batsman “showed his class”.
Das set up the foundation for a competitive score but a mid-innings collapse saw Bangladesh slip from 120-0 to 151-5 before being dismissed in 48.3.
Meanwhile India, who went into the tournament without regular skipper Virat Kohli, relished their title win that comes after a 1-4 Test loss in England.
But former Indian cricketers praised Bangladesh for their fighting instincts that made the Asia Cup final an entertaining affair.
“Congratulations India on becoming #AsiaCup Champions,” former Test batsman VVS Laxman wrote on Twitter.
“Hats off to Bangladesh for their splendid fight and attitude, for not giving up and playing out of their skins… despite missing Shakib (Al Hasan) and Tamim (Iqbal). Special mention to Kedar Jadhav for his grit and commitment.”
Cricketer-turned-commentator Mohammad Kaif also hailed Bangladesh’s special effort in a tough final.
“Congratulations India on winning the Asia Cup. The bowlers were phenomenal throughout the tournament and the main reason that we managed to win. Really special effort from Bangladesh to take the game so deep. Well done,” Kaif said on twitter.
Bangladesh will face Zimbabwe for three one-day internationals and two Tests at home in October and November.
India host West Indies for three Twenty20 matches, five ODIs and two Tests starting October 4.