Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Bangladesh rode on Sabbir Rahman's magnificent 72 off 50 balls backed up by a late surge from Mehedi Hasan Miraz in the final over to post a challenging total of 166 for eight from their 20 overs in the Nidahas Trophy final against India at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday.
The Tigers' innings can be broken down into two aspect; the first a Sabbir show and the second a tale of the over-urgency from the batsmen.
After coming in at number three in the fourth over, a terrific Sabbir stood vigil till the 19th over before being dismissed off the second ball of the penultimate over as he went for a cross-batted heave to Jaydev Unadkat with partners at the end becoming a scarce commodity.
Bangladesh had earlier lost three wickets in the Powerplay and managed 40 runs. Liton Das was the first to depart after scoring 11, top-edging an attempted sweep off a rather full delivery from Washington Sundar, a bowler who the Tigers had stressed at the team talk they were not willing to lose wickets to.
Then came a double-blow in the next over from leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Tamim Iqbal's (15) powerful hit was brilliantly caught just inside the long on ropes by Shardul Thakur, who hopped thrice in an attempt to regain his balance before finally doing so. And Soumya Sarkar departed off the last ball of the same over, sweeping the ball straight to the fielder at square leg.
However, the Tigers appeared to have overcome those initial hiccups as Sabbir and Mushfiqur Rahim took those cheeky runs to keep the scoreboard ticking. All of a sudden though, a sudden sense of urgency took over Mushfiqur and he was caught going for a slap towards extra cover off Chahal. He only managed a top edge and left the Tigers struggling at 68 for four inside 11 overs.
Mahmudullah then joined Sabbir, who was looking to free his arms, and the pair looked to have a solid game plan in place as they went for the odd boundaries between their quick running. Looking likely to set a solid platform, the pair added 27 runs in the three overs following Mushfiqur's departure.
And just when Bangladesh were about to go for a late launch, Mahmudullah was needlessly run out after scoring a 16-ball 21 following a horrible mix-up with Sabbir, leaving the Tigers at 104 for five inside 15 overs.
However, Sabbir continued to punish the Indian bowlers whenever he got the opportunity; from scoops to elegant pulls, the right hander looked in terrific touch. He reached his fourth T20I fifty off just 37 balls, flicking a Washington delivery over deep mid-wicket.
Skipper Shakib Al Hasan, who joined Sabbir, was also run out at another crucial junction and with no options left, Sabbir led the charge by himself before eventually being dismissed going for a big slog to Unadkat.
It looked as if the Tigers would fail to post even 150, but two fours and a six from Mehedi in the final over of the innings, which yielded 18 runs, took Bangladesh to a somewhat challenging total at the end.
Still, the feeling lingers that if the Bangladesh batsmen had shown some sort of stability then they could have added another 20 or 30 runs, which could perhaps have made the world of difference.