By Suneer Chowdhary
That Bangladesh did not disgrace themselves in a chase as humongous in nature as this one can be attributed to their new-found confidence of playing and winning at home. Chasing the rather improbable Indian target of 371, Bangladesh never threatened to get close to it but exhibited enough mettle to prove that their decision to field first may have been vindicated had the bowlers kept the Indians down to 300.
Unfortunately for them, India won by 87 runs after restricting Bangladesh to 283 for nine in their 50 overs.
Shantakumaran Sreesanth had a less than ordinary start to the game as he leaked runs like a badly punctured balloon and went for 36 in his first three overs – 24 of them in one over. Zaheer Khan kept his end tight and that meant that Imrul Kayes (34) had no option but try to go after Munaf Patel. Instead, he could only inside-edge the ball on to his stumps. This was the third dismissal of this kind on the day.
It was at this stage that the home team needed to keep their foot on the pedal as they done in the first six overs but the partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddique was a tad slower than the asking rate. What obviously did not help matters was the introduction of spinners, who kept a check on their run-rate.
By the time Siddique departed off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh to what was the 100th stumping in World Cup cricket, the asking rate had escalated to more than nine runs per over and they were in a dire need of their captain to play a match-winning innings.
He did his bit by getting to 55 off 50 while Iqbal’s was a more painstaking – in the context of the game – 70 off 86. But the asking rate kept popping up like the Mumbai high-rises and the dismissals of both the players was a result of that.
Munaf came back to pick up three more wickets and end with four for 48 while Zaheer had figures of two for 41 from his 10 overs to blow the tail away and run away with full points from the game. India was favourites going into the game but they were convincing in their win after the initial Bangladeshi steam had run out towards the latter part of the innings.
Virender Sehwag’s blazing 175 expectedly won him the man of the match award.
India play England in their next game of the World Cup on February 27 at Bangalore while Bangladesh take on Ireland two days earlier.
Brief scores: India: 370 for 4 in 50 overs (Virender Sehwag 175, Virat Kohli 100*, Gautam Gambhir 39, Sachin Tendulkar 28; Mahmudullah 1 for 49, Shakib Al Hassan 1 for 61, Shafiul Islam 1 for 69) bt Bangladesh: 283/9 in 50 overs (Tamim Iqbal 70, Shakib Al Hasan 55, Junaid Siddique 37, Imrul Kayes 34, Raqibul Hasan 28, Mushfiqur Rahim 25; Munaf Patel 4 for 48, Zaheer Khan 2 for 40) by 87 runs
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