On the evening of 18th March 2018 was played the final of a tournament held to celebrate 70 years of Sri Lankan Independence. The word Nidahas comes from the Sinhalese language meaning ‘freedom’. The tournament was based on the latest trending format of cricket T20 and each team was to play each other twice before the final. Unfortunately, the host team didn’t manage to get to the finals from the three teams that were playing the tournament, India – Sri Lanka – Bangladesh.
The beginning of the tournament saw some overwhelming performances from all the three countries. The first match itself set the stage on fire as the host team defeated the mighty Indian team for the first time in their home ground. However, the following matches in the group stage were exciting enough to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Even the bettors had a keen eye on the betting odds and kept their betting apps open to play a bet on the twist and turn in the game. The situation became even more exciting when the host was defeated twice by the underdog Bangladesh team that ultimately helped them reach the final on 18th March.
The final of the year
Now that the group stages were over, it was time for the major event of the tournament. The final was all set in the same stadium where all the matches of the tournament were previously conducted, The R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo. India won the toss and Rohit Sharma(captain of the Indian cricket team) decided to stick to the good record of chasing totals down and chose to field first.
Bangladesh took this opportunity to bat first as a challenge and proved why they deserved to be in the finals of the tournament by putting forward a total of 166 runs. The most valuable batsman for the Bangladeshi team was the experienced Sabbir Rahman with a 77 run score. Such a total was never chased in a final before giving Bangladeshis a good chance to keep the record going. Indians were left with no option but to break the previous record and create a new one if they wanted to win.
The Indian innings
India went out to bat in the final inning of the match and got its best man’s foot forward. The captain of the team, Rohit Sharma, was in his regular top-notch game and contributed a half-century to get his team closer to the total. Ropes started to twist once the captain was back in the pavilion. The rather young Indian started to lose wickets in quick session and the journey to the trophy started looking blurry. Bangladesh was heading towards a historic win over with the dropping current run rate and sky-high required rate for India. Players like Manish Pandey and KL Rahul did try to handle the situation from their end but they couldn’t hold it long. At last, it all fell in the hands of the inexperienced Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik. Vijay Shankar had not played much for the international side and his struggle was reflecting the up moving required run rate of the game. However, he was still trying to hang on in the field to support his other experienced teammate on the other end.
The 8 balls that changed the course
Dinesh Karthik had been in a part of the international squad for quite a long time now but never was he a consistent presence. However, his recent form in domestic and international cricket had helped him gain the role of a wicketkeeper-batsman in place of the legendary MS Dhoni. He was just the kind of player anyone would want in a situation that needed pressure handling, calmness, and determination.
This experienced batsman walked into the field at a time when India needed 34 runs with just 2 overs remaining. But who would have known that he had some other plans for the match? He came as if he knew where the balls were going to be bowled at him and created shots out of his talent and experience. With each swing of his bat, India came closer to a historic win and in just 8 balls Karthik had made 29 winning runs for the team. It was the day of a finisher who was long forgotten.
When asked about his plan on the field that day, the veteran says that it was his determination and practice that pushed him to do what he did. He says that he was very sure of what the team wanted from him at such a situation and that helped him produce the magic. The cricketer says “Going in knowing what you need to do gives you a better chance of achieving what you want to”.