Sehwag, Kohli plunder Bangla attack

Indian batsmen sent Bangladesh bowlers on the leather hunt

By Jamie Alter

Seconds after he won the toss and asked India to bat, Shakib Al Hasan confidently said that 260 was the most he wanted to chase. Shakib s reasoning was the dew factor later in the evening, but even that equation has all but been nullified by a master class in one-day batting that pushed India to 370 and shunned a boisterous crowd at the Shere Bangla Stadium.

Virender Sehwag set the tone by crunching the first ball of the World Cup for four and didn t let up until he fell for a splendid 175 in the 48th over, while Virat Kohli marked his first appearance in the tournament with a classy innings that kept with the vein of form that forced his inclusion today.

The afternoon and the match really, belonged to the Indian batsmen. Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar laid the platform for a huge total with a stand of 69 inside 11 overs, before Tendulkar set off for a sharp single and found himself at the same end as his partner. His 28 off 29 balls had promised much more, punctuated as it was by trademark flicks, but it wasn t to be Tendulkar s day.

Sehwag had said in the lead-up to the tournament that he was planning on batting at least 40 overs. Today he was visibly determined to walk the talk. The first ball, delivered by a nervy Shafiul Islam, was cracked off the back foot for four, and the 12-run over ended with the bowler being taken for four more. That set the tone for an effortless innings against a Bangladesh attack that appeared overawed by the occasion, too often sending down wayward deliveries.

There were times when he was kept quiet, most notably when Rubel Hossain bowled a series of short deliveries which Sehwag ducked under, but he never got bogged down. His back-foot shots were crisp, and after a watchful start against Bangladesh s phalanx of spinners, which began with Adbur Razzak in the fifth over, Sehwag produced an array of shots.

Getting used to the pace of the track, he was content working the ball well into the gaps, chipping away efficiently. Using the angled bat to great effect, he provided a superb display of common-sense cricket. His fifty consumed 45 balls and was raised nonchalantly with a six off Razzak that landed behind long-on.

Gautam Gambhir s first World Cup innings, a fluent, run-a-ball 39 dotted with caresses past point and flicks off the toes, ended in the 24th over when he was bowled trying to work Mahmudullah s second delivery across the stumps. You couldn t help but feel that it was an opportunity squandered.

That dismissal brought India s man of the season to the crease. Kohli s run of form over the past year he finished 2010 s second highest run-scorer ensured he was preferred to Suresh Raina and the 203-run partnership that followed brought out the best in the two batsmen.

In the form he is in, it seems difficult to put pressure on Kohli. The young right-hander got going with ease and didn t play a shot in haste until the 33rd over when he took Naeem Islam for three boundaries. Punching through the covers and flicking past square leg with great placement and timing, Kohli sent the ball scurrying across the turf to the ropes. Kohli sprinted like a man possessed, pushing his partner harder with every successive run.

At 224 for two after 34 overs, the Indian duo opted for the batting Powerplay. The first ball was murdered back down the ground past a hapless Shafiul, whose personal fifty came up in 5.1 overs, and at the end of the over his tally had reached 64 as Sehwag slapped a full toss for six. India passed the 260 which Shakib had envisioned at the toss in the 37th over, during which Sehwag tore into Razzak.

His Delhi teammate Kohli enjoyed the fireworks, despite copping a Sehwag drive flush onto his right hand, and raised 300 in the 42nd over with a couple lusty blows. Sehwag and Kohli repeatedly targeted the straight boundary and picked up plenty of runs with drives and chips over the bowlers.

With a flurry of strokes either side of the wicket, the pair launched a ferocious assault on the bowlers. Sparing neither slow bowler nor fast, they bludgeoned 203 runs in 24.1 overs. Sehwag fell to a tired shot for 175, the fourth highest scored in a World Cup, and soon after Kohli raised three figures. Right from the toss, it was downhill all the way for Shakib.

Brief score: India: 370 for 4 in 50 overs (Virender Sehwag 175 batting, Virat Kohli 100* batting Gautam Gambhir 39, Sachin Tendulkar 28; Mahmudullah 1 for 49, Shakib Al Hassan 1 for 61, Shafiul Islam 1 for 69) vs Bangladesh.

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now)

Pictures Getty Images

By Jamie Alter

Seconds after he won the toss and asked India to bat, Shakib Al Hasan confidently said that 260 was the most he wanted to chase. Shakib s reasoning was the dew factor later in the evening, but even that equation has all but been nullified by a master class in one-day batting that pushed India to 370 and shunned a boisterous crowd at the Shere Bangla Stadium.

Virender Sehwag set the tone by crunching the first ball of the World Cup for four and didn t let up until he fell for a splendid 175 in the 48th over, while Virat Kohli marked his first appearance in the tournament with a classy innings that kept with the vein of form that forced his inclusion today.

The afternoon and the match really, belonged to the Indian batsmen. Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar laid the platform for a huge total with a stand of 69 inside 11 overs, before Tendulkar set off for a sharp single and found himself at the same end as his partner.

His 28 off 29 balls had promised much more, punctuated as it was by trademark flicks, but it wasn t to be Tendulkar s day.

Sehwag had said in the lead-up to the tournament that he was planning on batting at least 40 overs. Today he was visibly determined to walk the talk. The first ball, delivered by a nervy Shafiul Islam, was cracked off the back foot for four, and the 12-run over ended with the bowler being taken for four more. That set the tone for an effortless innings against a Bangladesh attack that appeared overawed by the occasion, too often sending down wayward deliveries.

There were times when he was kept quiet, most notably when Rubel Hossain bowled a series of short deliveries which Sehwag ducked under, but he never got bogged down. His back-foot shots were crisp, and after a watchful start against Bangladesh s phalanx of spinners, which began with Adbur Razzak in the fifth over, Sehwag produced an array of shots.

Getting used to the pace of the track, he was content working the ball well into the gaps, chipping away efficiently. Using the angled bat to great effect, he provided a superb display of common-sense cricket. His fifty consumed 45 balls and was raised nonchalantly with a six off Razzak that landed behind long-on.

Gautam Gambhir s first World Cup innings, a fluent, run-a-ball 39 dotted with caresses past point and flicks off the toes, ended in the 24th over when he was bowled trying to work Mahmudullah s second delivery across the stumps. You couldn t help but feel that it was an opportunity squandered.

That dismissal brought India s man of the season to the crease. Kohli s run of form over the past year he finished 2010 s second highest run-scorer ensured he was preferred to Suresh Raina and the 203-run partnership that followed brought out the best in the two batsmen.

In the form he is in, it seems difficult to put pressure on Kohli. The young right-hander got going with ease and didn t play a shot in haste until the 33rd over when he took Naeem Islam for three boundaries. Punching through the covers and flicking past square leg with great placement and timing, Kohli sent the ball scurrying across the turf to the ropes. Kohli sprinted like a man possessed, pushing his partner harder with every successive run.

At 224 for two after 34 overs, the Indian duo opted for the batting Powerplay. The first ball was murdered back down the ground past a hapless Shafiul, whose personal fifty came up in 5.1 overs, and at the end of the over his tally had reached 64 as Sehwag slapped a full toss for six. India passed the 260 which Shakib had envisioned at the toss in the 37th over, during which Sehwag tore into Razzak.

His Delhi teammate Kohli enjoyed the fireworks, despite copping a Sehwag drive flush onto his right hand, and raised 300 in the 42nd over with a couple lusty blows. Sehwag and Kohli repeatedly targeted the straight boundary and picked up plenty of runs with drives and chips over the bowlers.

With a flurry of strokes either side of the wicket, the pair launched a ferocious assault on the bowlers. Sparing neither slow bowler nor fast, they bludgeoned 203 runs in 24.1 overs. Sehwag fell to a tired shot for 175, the fourth highest scored in a World Cup, and soon after Kohli raised three figures. Right from the toss, it was downhill all the way for Shakib.

Brief score: India: 370 for 4 in 50 overs (Virender Sehwag 175 batting, Virat Kohli 100* batting Gautam Gambhir 39, Sachin Tendulkar 28; Mahmudullah 1 for 49, Shakib Al Hassan 1 for 61, Shafiul Islam 1 for 69) vs Bangladesh.

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now)

Pictures Getty Images