There is nothing in Shivam Dubes numbers in domestic T20 cricket to suggest that he can carry a bowling attack on his own. But when it mattered on Sunday, the Mumbai all-rounder delivered.
With Bangladesh seemingly in control of a run chase of 175, Dube intervened, taking three crucial wickets, as India won the series-deciding third T20I by 30 runs at the VCA Stadium here. Deepak Chahar sparkled too, polishing off the Bangladesh innings with a hat-trick to finish with remarkable figures of six for seven from 3.2 overs, the best in T20 internationals.
India went into the match with only five bowlers, having sacrificed Krunal Pandya for an extra batsman in Manish Pandey. It looked a terrible idea 13 overs into the Bangladesh innings, with the visitor needing 65 off the last 42 balls, with seven wickets in hand and the dew a big problem.
Yuzvendra Chahal had endured a bad day, and at the crease were Mohammad Naim, unbeaten on a half-century, and Mushfiqur Rahim. Rohit put his faith in Dube, and he did not disappoint. Mushfiqur fell first ball, chopping on.
In his next over, Dube accounted for Naim and Afif Hossain off successive deliveries. Naim was consumed by a splendid yorker, and Afif was caught and bowled, with Dube at full stretch.
When Mahmudullah was bowled by Chahal, Bangladesh had lost five wickets for 20 runs in the space of four overs. Chahar then made the evening a memorable one for the crowd, dismissing Shafiul, Mustafizur and Aminul to record a hat-trick and eclipse Ajantha Mendiss figures, hitherto the best in T20I cricket.
Twenty-year-old Naims 48-ball-81 was a fine effort, but it was overshadowed by Indias series triumph.
Earlier, K.L. Rahul and Shreyas Iyer made a pair of entertaining half-centuries after India had been put in to bat. Rahul arrived at the exit of Rohit Sharma, who had edged Shafiul Islam onto his stumps for two.
This was an important innings for the Karnataka batsman. Before the start of the series, he seemed to be sliding down the pecking order across formats. Out for 15 in Delhi and unbeaten on 8 in Rajkot, Rahul needed a decent score here. And he managed one, striking a series of effortless boundaries along the way. Shafiul Islam was carved away through point early on, Aminul Islam was cut and pulled to the fence, and Mustafizur Rahman was lofted over mid-off. He raised his fifty off 33 balls, and fell two deliveries later, failing to clear mid-off.
Shreyas was dropped second ball at point, the leg-spinner Aminul spilling a simple offering. Shreyas remained watchful the next 10 deliveries and then exploded. Aminul and Soumya Sarkar were thumped for massive sixes over deep-midwicket.
When Afif Hossain was introduced, Shreyas brought the crowd to its feet, welcoming the off-spinner with three successive sixes, standing in his crease and swinging for the bleachers. The Mumbai batsman raised his maiden T20I fifty off 27 balls, before he was caught on the boundary for 62 off Sarkar. The latter claimed two wickets with his gentle medium-pace, removing Shreyas and Pant, who was bowled for six, in the same over.
Manish Pandey then gave the innings some vital thrust at the end. Bangladesh might have felt the total within reach, but it would fall well short in the end.