The odds were stacked against India in this thrilling group game in Bengaluru, which would eventually decide who entered the last-eight of the 2016 World T20. The hosts had to defend 11 from the final over. An inexperienced Hardik Pandya was handed the task of seeing his team home. Bangladesh, chasing a modest 147, had two experienced campaigners in Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah.
Mahmudullah took a single off the first ball. 10 from 5 required and India, led by MS Dhoni, have another mini-meeting at the bowlers’ end. The margin of error for Pandya is small as the batsmen usually have the advantage in a chase at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Just ask Virat Kohli and his Royal Challengers Bangalore mates.
The stadium was stunned into silence in the next few minutes apart from a small section of colourful Bangladesh fans. Pandya got his lengths wrong and was smashed for back-to-back boundaries. The Bangladesh fans, roaring to their heart’s content, were sensing a famous win.
Mushfiqur, the wrecker-in-chief, was pumping his fists and the dressing room were gearing up to make a dash the moment Bangladesh would famously knock India out of yet another big competition. That too, in their own backyard. Just a year earlier, they had defied odds to reach the quarter-finals in the 50-over World Cup but a Rohit Sharma-inspired India had the last laugh there, so there was some revenge to be had.
A despondent Pandya decided to shorten his length, which worked like a charm. Mushfiqur, going for glory, was caught in the deep by Shikhar Dhawan. The next ball, Mahmudullah, trying a similar slog sweep holed out to Ravindra Jadeja, who showed nerves of steel to go with his athleticism and daredevilry – something that’s almost taken for granted these days on the field.
From being a ball away from facing an exit from the tournament, India now had the momentum with Bangladesh needing two from the final ball of the match. Tailender Shuvagata Hom is on strike. He misses and the batsmen try to steal a bye to take it to the Super Over.
Dhoni, who caught the ball without the glove on, could have attempted a direct hit. He could have thrown it to a teammate running towards the batsmen’s end or explored opportunities at the non-striker’s end. But Dhoni, 34 years-old at the time, trusted his own ability to out-run Mustafizur Rahman and run him out.
Was it foolhardy or a calculated risk from the Indian captain? One never knows. But these clutch moments are something that he lived for. Especially in this format. Needless to say, most of those risks involved India getting over the finish line.
Watch the full video of Dhoni’s brilliant run-out in the last ball of the match here: