Dubai, Sep 30: In the absence of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma led from the front as India won the Asia Cup for a record seventh time.
“Rohit was a calming influence and it showed in his captaincy. To keep his intensity going even after the start they had, showed he was really cool in every aspect of captaincy,” Shastri said after the final. “The bowling changes he made were really good, to concede just around 100 runs in the last 30 overs, I thought it was brilliant,” he said.
Sharma scored 317 runs from the top of the order with Shikhar Dhawan, his opening partner, topping the competition aggregates with 342 runs. Mainly because of the two, India remained unbeaten through the tournament, a tie against Afghanistan when neither of them – along with a bunch of other leading players – were in the playing XI the only time they failed to end on the winning side.
The final was an interesting contest, where Liton Das slammed a 117-ball 121 to give Bangladesh the early advantage – at one stage, the scoreboard had read 120 for no loss. But India pulled things back to bowl the opposition out for just 222. India didn’t have a great start, with Dhawan getting out for just 15, and it took India till the last ball of their innings to get past the target, an ICC report on Sunday said.
The tournament, interestingly, didn’t start too well for India. In their first match, against Hong Kong, India put up 285/7, but Nizakat Khan (92) and Anshuman Rath (73) put up 174 for the first wicket to give India a fright. India eventually won by 26 runs. “I liked the intensity with which we played, we were a bit flat against Hong Kong in the first match, but pulled up afterwards,” pointed out Shastri.
“The biggest plus was the fielding, game after game, we saved around 30-35 runs in these oppressive conditions. We took wickets consistently and during the middle-overs, the bowlers were outstanding, we bowled well with the new ball in tough conditions and then the spinners came to the party,” he added. (UNI)