Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Sharma and Kohli both made half-centuries
India’s batting duo of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli both scored half-centuries to help their side book a spot in the semi-final of the World Twenty20 and register a convincing eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in Mirpur.
The pair were well supported by spinner Amit Mishra, who took three wickets.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have been jumping for joy with his decision to bowl first as Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal was caught by Suresh Raina at slip off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin for six runs.
Ashwin struck again the very next ball as Shamsur Rahman was caught by Sharma at deep square leg for a golden duck.
Shakib Al Hasan only made one run before he was clean bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim managed to make 24 runs before he was caught by Kohli at deep midwicket off the bowling of Mohammed Shami.
Anamul Haque was the standout performer with the bat for Bangladesh as he smashed 44 runs off 43 balls, which included five boundaries and two sixes, before he was clean bowled by Mishra.
Nasir Hossain scored 16 runs before he was stumped by Dhoni off the bowling of Mishra.
Mishra struck again the very next ball when Ziaur Rahman was caught by Ravindra Jadeja at long-off for a golden duck.
Bangladesh eventually finished on 138/7 off their 20 overs.
Mishra was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Ashwin snapped up two and Kumar and Shami chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 139 to win, India got off to a poor start as opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan was clean bowled by Al-Amin Hossain for just one run.
Kohli and Sharma made up for the early loss of Dhawan with a 100-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Sharma was caught by Nasir Hossain at point off the bowling of Mashrafe Mortaza.
Sharma’s excellent knock of 56 came off 44 balls and included five boundaries and a six.
Kohli and Dhoni mopped up the remaining runs with no problems whatsoever to lead India to a comfortable eight-wicket win.
Kohli finished on 57 off 50 balls, which included three boundaries and a six, while Dhoni remained undefeated on 22 off 12 deliveries, which included one boundary and two sixes.
Mortaza and Al-Amin Hossain picked up one wicket each.
Rahim was extremely disappointed with his team’s performance, and said: “Whoever gets set, ends up throwing their wicket away…so definitely not happening at the moment. After you lose a couple of wickets, you need to preserve the wickets, but also score runs because they had some good spinners. We thought about 150 plus as a good total, but unfortunately ended up below that. Two more games to go, so hopefully we can take some positives out of them.”
Despite beating Bangladesh in the most convincing of manners, Dhoni noted that there would be “no celebrations”.
“We were slightly unlucky in Sri Lanka, we lost only one game and didn’t qualify for the next round,” he said. “But we have good players and the next few games are going to be extremely tough. I hadn’t batted in a while and asked Yuvi if he was ok. Now everyone in the top five has had a bat.
“We don’t have a bowler who we can bank upon – like Malinga or Narine – so we have to play the bowlers according to who is doing well at that time. We can’t ask Virat Kohli to [get out] hit wicket and come back [to make games interesting]. We can’t do much about that [lack of challenge].”
In a rather surprising move, Ashwin was named Man of the Match, and said: “Spinners have enjoyed good success, Mishy has won two Man of the Match awards, so I guess it was my turn today. A few difficult matches coming up now. We have played some excellent cricket, we don’t need to be too worried [about not being tested enough].”