Asia Cup 2016: Rohit Sharma stars as India recover from early hiccups to beat Bangladesh
Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya's quickfire 67-run partnership swinged the match in India's favour.
Rohit Sharma made the most of a dropped chance to continue his fine run of form with a knock of 83 that held the Indian innings together after the loss of three early wickets before shifting gears, later on, to propel his side to 166 in 20 overs. Hardik Pandya enhanced his big-hitting reputation further with a little cameo as India seized the momentum from Bangladesh who had got off to a good start only to end up losing by a margin of 45 runs.
The big news ahead of the game was that Indian skipper was passed fit to play after recovering from the back spasm which had kept him out of the training session on Tuesday while Virat Kohli also came back into the side after being rested for the T20 series against Sri Lanka in place of Ajinkya Rahane.
Bangladesh meanwhile had the experienced Imrul Kayes filling in for Tamim Iqbal, who has been given paternity leave while Al-Amin Hossain and Taskin Ahmed both found a place in the playing eleven as the hosts went in with a four-pronged pace attack to exploit the pitch which had a little green covering on it.
Overcast conditions and a prediction of rain, later on, meant Bangladesh skipper Moshrafe Mortaza had no hesitation in choosing to field first. The decision looked spot on as the Bangladeshi bowlers managed to get good assistance from the pitch and were later rewarded with wickets to their name.
Shikhar Dhawan was the first to go as Al-Amin got one to nip away a little knocking out the off-stump. Kohli nearly played on soon after and looked never in control of his innings getting beaten twice before holding out to mid-off for 8. Raina looked in good touch with a couple of neat boundaries but saw his middle stump rattled by Mahmudullah as India found themselves struggling at 42-3.
Bangladesh could have pressed the opposition into deep trouble had Shakib Al Hasan held on to a chance offered by Rohit at backward point and it proved to be very costly miss in the end. The 28-year-old was batting on 21 at the time and went on to add 62 more to put India in a strong position at the halfway mark.
Rohit Sharma has been in tremendous nick off late and today was no different as the Mumbai cricketer played a superb innings holding the Indian innings together after the loss of three early wickets before unleashing his big-hitting late on.
Though Yuvraj Singh got his long-awaited chance to spend some time in the middle, the southpaw held out in the deep for 15 before Hardik Pandya further enhanced his growing reputation as a hard-hitting all-rounder with a knock that changed the course of the Indian innings. Rohit and Pandya’s fifth wicket partnership fetched 61 runs from just 26 balls with Mustafizur Rahman also bearing the grunt conceding 21 runs in the 17th over.
Adding to Shakib’s woes on the field against Rohit continued as two chances on the boundary ropes just evaded the all-rounder while Pandya proved that he can play all around the ground mixing up his strokes to perfection.
Though the hosts managed to pull things back a little in the final two overs, Dhoni ensured that the vociferous crowd went into the interval with a gloom as he did something that has become customary – hit the last ball of the innings for a six.
The momentum had clearly shifted with India scoring 114 runs off the final 10 overs and it reflected in the Bangladesh innings as well with both openers heading back to the pavilion with only 15 runs on the board. Sabbir Rahman looked in good touch however and managed to keep the hosts in the chase with a few boundaries.
Kayes couldn’t produce anything memorable in his comeback game and Shakib’s off-day was complete as he made errored in his call and found himself short of the crease. The regular fall of wickets at the other end meant that Sabbir had no other option but to go hard at the ball as the required run rate kept climbing up. He managed to score 44 but a special knock was needed if the hosts were to put up a meaningful fight. That however never materialized.
The rest of the match was a mere formality as the wickets kept falling with Ashish Nehra ending up with the three wickets. Even the normally formidable Mushfiqur Rahim, who enjoys batting against India, failed to produce the big hits required and Bangladesh eventually ended up short by 45 runs.
Brief scores: India 166/6 off 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 83, Pandya 31; Al-Amin Hossain 3/37) beat Bangladesh 121/7 (Sabbir Rahman 44; Nehra 3/23)