Champions Trophy 2nd Semi-final: Rohit’s hundred sets up India-Pakistan final

Rohit is all smiles after bringing up his 11th ODI hundred

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India opener Rohit Sharma blasted an unbeaten 123 to not only lead his side to a nine-wicket win over Bangladesh at Edgbaston, but also help them progress to the Champions Trophy final.

Rohit was well supported by captain Virat Kohli, who struck an unbeaten 96.

As a result of their win, the defending champions set up a mouth-watering final with arch-rivals Pakistan at The Oval on Sunday. The two nations met in the group stage of the tournament on June 4, and it was India who came out on top as they crushed Pakistan by 124 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

For Bangladesh, the result will be a bitter pill to swallow, but they should also hold their head high as they progressed from an extremely tough group that included England, Australia and New Zealand.

Electing to bowl first, India got their first wicket on the sixth ball of the match as Soumya Sarkar was clean bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a duck.

Sabbir Rahman only managed to make 19 runs before he became Kumar’s second victim.

However, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim stabilised the innings with a 123-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries.

Iqbal scored his 38th ODI fifty

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With Bangladesh back in control, India were in need of a wicket, and it was Kedar Jadhav who provided it as he clean bowled Iqbal for 70, which came off 82 balls and included seven boundaries and a six.

Shakib Al Hasan fell shortly after, while Rahim went on to make 61 off 85 deliveries, which included four boundaries, before he was sent packing by Jadhav.

Rahim struck his 26th half-century in ODI cricket

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Once Rahim was gone, Bangladesh began to lose wickets at regular intervals.

However, captain Mashrafe Mortaza smashed an unbeaten 30 to help his side score 264/7 off their 50 overs.

Kumar, Jadhav and Jasprit Bumrah picked up two wickets apiece, while Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with one.

Chasing 265 to win, India got off to a great start as Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan amassed an 87-run partnership before Dhawan was sent packing by Mortaza for 46.

That was to be Bangladesh’s last taste of success as Rohit and Kohli finished things off with an unbeaten 178-run stand, during which Rohit sailed past his hundred and Kohli his fifty.

Rohit ended up making 123 off 129 balls, which included 15 boundaries and a six, while Kohli remained undefeated on 96 off 78 deliveries, which included 13 boundaries, as India won the match with 59 balls to spare.

Kohli became the fastest player in history to score 8,000 ODI runs

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Mortaza was the only bowler to take a wicket.

Mortaza was less than impressed with his side’s performance, and said: “We could have scored 300, even 320, but our set batsmen getting out was a setback to us. Next time, we’ll come back strongly. We need to learn. Skill-wise we’re fine, but mentally we need to be stronger.”

Kohli was thrilled to advance to the final, and said: “Another complete game. We needed to have a clean, collective game. We didn’t expect to win by nine wickets, but that’s the quality of our top order. He’s not a surprise package (Kedar Kadhav), he’s a smart guy, he knows where to pitch the ball and see what the wicket is offering.

“It could have been close to 300. I wanted to give myself some time, 10-15 balls. Last time, we lost a wicket, so I had to adapt, I like those challenges. I grew in confidence. When you’re coming onto the short ball, you know you’re playing well. We’re taking it as any other game, I know that’s boring but that’s our mindset. Never a worry when you’re middle order isn’t batting too much. Everyone is hitting the ball magnificently in practice.”

Rohit was named Man of the Match, and said: “Was a great knock, especially when it comes on a winning note. Trying to get a big one, in the last two games. Was quite determined today. Wicket was brilliant. I kept telling myself to bat as much as possible. We’ve been playing good cricket. One last hurdle, a big game against Pakistan. It felt like he was batting overnight (Virat Kohli). As a captain, he was brilliant.”

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