“I saw [MS] Dhoni give the ball to Hardik [Pandya]. I went to the toilet. I wasn’t going to face the tension. They had gathered the players in the balcony as they only needed three runs or whatever. I went to the toilet,” Ravi Shastri said on Star Sports on the morning of the India vs Bangladesh game at Adelaide.
It was the famous game in March 2016 T20 world cup. At the start of the final over, with Bangladesh needing 10, Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Ashish Nehra and Hardik would have a chat and disperse. That legendary Bangladesh feisty character Mushfiqur Rahim would smash the second and third ball to the boundaries and they just needed 2 from three balls.
Shastri says he heads to the toilet, locks himself and waits. In the middle, Nehra is everywhere, chatting with Pandya, Dhoni and the crowd holds their breath. Quite a few Sri Lankan fans too are at the game, they have had their infamous Naagin-banter with Bangladesh by then. When Rahim hit the third ball for four past Dhoni, he would yell and roar in celebration. Just 2 needed, with 3 balls left, he perhaps felt the job was done.
Hardik would send a slower short ball which Rahim wanted to smash out of the ground but would find Shikhar Dhawan at deep midwicket. Nehra moves in with Pandya and Dhoni again.
Dhoni moved Ravindra Jadeja from cover all the way to deep midwicket. Pandya was unable to land the ball, slipping a full toss and Mahmudullah, who had crossed during Rahim’s wicket, swung it towards Jadeja who rushes in to take a good tumbling catch. An animated Rohit Sharma who had run close to him envelops him with a hug.
Before the final ball, Nehra again did all the talking with Dhoni, Hardik, Yuvraj Singh, and Virat Kohli.
At the non-striker’s end stood Muztafizur Rahman. A year ago, he was shoved to the ground by Dhoni when running for a single, and a huge controversy had erupted. Muztafizur had stood in the way of Rohit Sharma running between the wicket in his first spell and Indians didn’t like his intrusion. When he again came in the way in his second spell, Dhoni shoulder-charged him.
A day later, Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan said the hosts never expected it from a player of Dhoni’s stature. “We didn’t like what Dhoni did yesterday. It (pushing Rahman) was never expected of him,” he told reporters. “We play to increase our friendship and only those who have grudges on their mind do that.” Suresh Raina would have his say too. “It would have been disturbing had one of our batsmen got run-out because of that. He collided with Rohit and then MS Dhoni. Anyone could have been seriously hurt. He has to learn to stay away from the pitch when the batsmen are running.”
Back to the final ball of the Bangalore game. With Shastri presumably still in the toilet, Dhoni stood behind the stumps, having pulled off his right glove even before Hardik ran in to bowl. Muztafizur backs out of the crease before the release. It’s Hardik and not Ashwin there, luckily for him.
It’s the bouncer well outside off, Shuvgata Hom has a swing and a miss. Mustafizur Rahman runs, Dhoni runs, Pandya runs, the close-in fielders run towards both ends. Dhoni doesn’t throw the ball at all. Mustafizur closes in, leans forward with the outstretched bat. Dhoni runs all the way to the stumps to take out the bails. Not quite Jonty Rhodes moment, but almost.
The third umpire signals out. India erupt on the field and in the stands. The Sri Lankans start the Naagin dance. Shastri comes out of the toilet.