Litton Das has batted in 154 T20 innings. He has scored 40 or more at a strike-rate of over 150 only three times. He is still considered Bangladesh's best bet by many. Aesthetics have a lot to do with that. When he is on song, he doesn't look like he is incapable of anything. The pull, the cut, the cover-drive, the deft late-cut, he plays them all, and does so languidly. Yet his T20 record: average of 22.95 and strike-rate of 125.95.
T20 cricket, more than any format, strips you of any leeway style might get you. If you can't use your aesthetics to score runs, and quick runs, you are discarded. A few Bangladesh batters - whether stylish or not - fall in that category. Play on a slow pitch, neutralise the opposition's six-hitting, and they are a dangerous team. When you are chasing 185 against India on a cold night in Adelaide, you need some six-hitting to even dream of winning.
This is when Litton stuns India. He has no choice but to come out swinging. Even when he does come out swinging, Litton doesn't look like he is playing a single shot in anger. KL Rahul says that it is the fact that Litton is hitting good balls away without an element of slogging that has fazed the India bowlers. They have been kicked off their lengths and plans.
There are quite a few Bangladesh supporters in the stands, but the silence among the Indian section is so deafening you can't hear the Bangla cheers. Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami are all taken apart. He brings up his fifty in 21 balls. It is difficult to plan for this kind of assault from a batter with those stats. A measure of how good Litton is, that while he has scored 56 off 24 in the powerplay, his partner Najmul Hossain Shanto has managed just four off 12. Another measure of how good Litton has been is that Bangladesh are 17 runs ahead of the DLS par score when it starts raining at the end of the seventh over.
We are in the bizarro universe now. Normally sides fielding are more reluctant to resume play in post-rain conditions. Here India are desperate to play on. On the other hand, the more it rains the better it is for Bangladesh. No more play gives them the elusive win over India in a world event. If we lose 10 overs, Bangladesh have to chase 23 in three; if we lose five, they will need 76 in eight.
The ground staff keep running a rope on the ground almost through the rain break. Even before it stops raining, the big cover comes off. In all likelihood, this is just the ground staff showing confidence in the radar and getting a head start when it comes to drying the surface. It stops raining at about 9.37pm, about 40 minutes after it first started coming down. That's a loss of two overs. You would think it would take another 20 minutes or so, a total loss of seven overs, but it is announced play will resume at 9.50pm, giving Bangladesh a further target of 85 in nine overs.
As the ground gets through the final touch-ups, India look relaxed, in their huddle, regrouping after that assault. Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan is seen having an animated discussion with the umpires while India captain Rohit Sharma mostly just stands and listens. Shakib is seen running his hand on the ground and showing them the water that comes up with it. Even after the umpires' chat with the captains is done, Litton comes and has a chat with the umpires with some finger-pointing towards the ground.
Bangladesh are not happy. This break has broken the momentum, but it is not long enough to help them mathematically even though the wet conditions will challenge India's bowlers and fielders.
Just to make things worse, Litton slips when running on the first ball. He injures his wrist too. He is running on the edge of the pitch, but when he is sliding in at the end of the run, he is almost on the grass next to the pitch, which takes him down. They decide against two. On the next ball, the second is properly on. This time, Litton is running on the grass and slips during the second. He doesn't fall, but on this precise occasion, India, who almost comically couldn't hit the wickets from close range against South Africa, manage a direct hit from the deep.
Litton is furious, looks back at the grass that nearly tripped him and walks off in disgust. If you are already feeling hard done by, this is enough to make you want to protest.
This is the exchange in the early goings at Shakib's post-match press conference.
Reporter: Did you really try not to play [at the time you did]?
Shakib, smiling: Did we have any option?
Reporter: No, no option. That's fair. But did you try to convince them?
Shakib, still smiling: Convince whom?
Reporter: The umpires?
Shakib, smile getting wider: Do I have the ability to convince the umpires?
Reporter: Then were you discussing the rivers of Bangladesh?
Shakib doesn't know what to say.
Reporter: Then what were you discussing?
Shakib: Okay now you are asking the right question. The umpires called both the captains, told us the target, bowling quotas etc.
Reporter: And you accepted it?
Reporter: Beautiful, thank you.
Shakib at this press conference is different from the Shakib we know. The Shakib who kicks down stumps, who argues with umpires, who gets into fights with spectators, who gesticulates at the camera for spending too much time trained on him, is the voice of the reason at the end of the match.
However, how he is during the match in that dugout is important. Shakib is not the only emotional person in that team. That team runs on emotion. If anybody has been to Bangladesh, they will know the country runs on emotion.
Emotion is Bangladesh cricket's superpower. And during the rain break they have probably been told they have already failed to protest about a Virat Kohli fake-fielding incident. Twice in this tournament Kohli has remonstrated with the umpires even before they have had a chance to call a no-ball. It has annoyed the fans of the opposition. Not the merits of the call, but that Kohli gets to remonstrate. Now that there has been a chance to put Kohli on the spot, both the umpires and the batters have missed it. This is where emotion would have been well spent.
You can imagine it is all building up. Then there is a chance to finally put one past India after the nightmares against them: the borderline no-ball to turn it around in the 2015 World Cup, the premature celebrations in the 2016 T20 World Cup, the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka. And now they have a chance not only to beat India but also to have proper semi-final aspirations.
It is all at risk, and then what happens to Litton has happened.
Then one after the other, Bangladesh batters keep swinging. Some shots come off spectacularly but Bangladesh don't need these risks. Most teams in these circumstances give themselves a few balls to get themselves in knowing no target is safe when they take it deep. Bangladesh don't have experience of doing so. More importantly, they don't have known six-hitters on whom they can rely to finish the game if it gets tight.
They are also angry, they are emotional, and they start playing the kind of shots Litton didn't play at all.
India on the other hand are doing small things right. Their long-on is wide, almost a deep midwicket, where two slogs end up. Rahul nails that direct hit. Arshdeep gets yorkers right with that wet ball. They are a lesson in being clinical.
Emotion is also Bangladesh cricket's kryptonite.
Never mind the coincidence that Bangladesh fall short by five, the same number of runs India would have been penalised had Kohli's fake-fielding been noticed. In the fact that they come this close despite making all kinds of mistakes is a lesson. They play their best cricket when riding a wave of emotion, but they also need to hang in when it is not going their way. A lot of it comes from depth in your team, but sometimes you have to consciously keep the emotions aside. A bit like how Shakib does at the press conference to avoid controversy and fines. On the field they have to find a way to avoid it when it begins to harm them, which can admittedly be difficult when the amount of play left is as little as nine overs.