India’s uncomplicated win against Bangladesh wasn’t surprising in any sense. However, it must have been a relief nonetheless following the recent disappointments in Zimbabwe and also the fact that Bangladesh have troubled the Indians quite a lot in recent times.
Even on Wednesday, the Indians began as if they were the underdogs and it was some senseless batting from the Bangladesh batsmen as well as a better bowling performance towards the second half of the innings that allowed India to get back into the game. Once that happened, there were literally unstoppable. Then too, there was some scope for improvement as India closed out the game.
The bowling performance at the start was especially appalling. Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar sprayed the ball all over the place and had no answer to the early onslaught by the Bangladesh openers. In a sense it was understandable since the former was returning from a break, while the latter hadn’t had the best time in Zimbabwe.
Still, the Indians cannot afford to be lax against the stronger Asian opponents. And so, it was good to see the duo coming back well in the second spell and regaining some respectability in their bowling. It is of utmost importance for them to carry on the good work into Saturday’s crucial encounter against Pakistan.
The Indians put up a much better show with the willow in hand, though one has to say they could have avoided a couple of hiccups. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma fell in quick succession, which put India in a spot of bother.
Chasing a mediocre total they would have preferred to canter home. And while they did manage to get through with a bonus point eventually, it was only because the Bangladesh batsmen had kicked themselves in the foot earlier in the day.
Shifting to the positives, there were a decent number of them for India to cheer about. As aforementioned, the bowlers came back very well after the initial outburst by the Bangladeshis.
Even here, there was a surprise package. It was batting wizard Virender Sehwag, returning from injury, who spun a web around the Bangladesh lower order. Tossing the ball and inviting the batsmen to go for the strokes, Sehwag was successful in defeating four batsmen in the air as he ended with career-best figures. While the return wasn’t surprising as he also boasts of a five-for in Test cricket, it was a proper test for Sehwag’s shoulder, and he seemed to pass fit.
When the Indians went into bat, there weren’t under too much pressure. But it still need one decent partnership to see them through. And while Sehwag couldn’t match his heroics with the ball, Delhi mate Gautam Gambhir ensured he left his stamp on the game. After the initially edginess, self-confessedly the T20 effect, Gambhir settled down nicely to lead India’s victory charge.
Despite the meagre total, it wasn’t the easiest pitch of bat on as the game progressed and, as witnessed in the opening game, the lights weren’t the best either. Under the circumstances, the southpaw’s knock was a highly valuable one. He paced his innings according to the needs of the situation, and was thus instrumental in India getting home.
In the form of skipper MS Dhoni, Gambhir once again found a steady influence. And even after he was dismissed, the Indian captain kept steady head and earned India the crucial bonus point.
This victory notwithstanding, things will be on even keel when India take on Pakistan over the weekend after what seems like ages, following the political conflict in the latter nation. For now though, they would be pleased just to have overcome Bangladesh, who were influential in embarrassingly knocking India out of the 2007 World Cup.
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