It was by pure luck that the 2018 Nidahas Trophy final between India and Bangladesh coincided with one of my recreational, non-assigned trips to Sri Lanka. The Indians needed five runs on the last ball, with Dinesh Karthik on strike.
The move was met with scything criticism on social media and Rohit was "crucified" even more when India went on to concede a wicket to Mustafizur Rahman in the 18th over of the game.
Tenth-ranked Bangladesh pushed their illustrious neighbours 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.
While Dinesh Karthik's quickfire 29 off just eight balls was the noticeable highlight of the run chase, commentator Sunil Gavaskar's Nagin dance in the commentary box did not go well with Bangladeshi fans. In nine matches at the helm, Rohit averages 38.44 with a hundred (a 35-ball ton which turned out to be a six-fest against Sri Lanka in December) and two half-centuries. In a final, under pressure, things didn't happen for him.
"Emotions take over, I need to be careful as a leader of a team, I will be careful next time", Shakib said after the game.
Describing the reason behind the incident, he said, "I was sent inside the field to speak to (Mahmudullah) Riyad bhai". Had the ball landed inside the boundary line the match would have gone into the Super Over, and from the initial response of everyone who judged the flight of the ball thought this appeared to be the case.
Wicket-keeper batsman Karthik (29 of 8 balls), who has made sporadic worldwide appearances, produced a last-ball six as India pulled off an incredible chase beating Bangladesh by four wickets in the Nidhas T20 Tri-series final, here last night.
India started off on a steady note as openers Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan (10) scored 32 runs in three overs but then Dhawan was dismissed by Shakib Al Hasan. "And credit to the backroom staff, they have always supported me and I'm really happy", Karthik said during the post-match presentation ceremony Sunday in Colombo. Heck, even the tournament organizers had Sri Lanka vs India written on the tickets for the final. In their absence, Rohit Sharma proved to be an able leader, and one who got the best out of youngsters such as Washington Sundar, Jaidev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur. "We didn't feel that we were playing outside India", the captain said. He told me how to stay deep in the crease and use the speed of the ball. "I can proudly say it paid off", he added.
However, this is an opportune time to take stock of the recently concluded Nidahas Trophy, which was put together by Sri Lanka with the objective of celebrating the country's 70th independence anniversary.