Virat Kohli continued his rich vein of form, registered the second ODI century of his career as India got the better of Bangladesh in an inconsequential encounter prior to the tri-series finals.
Chasing a decent target of 248, Indian batters eased to the target with Virat Kohli’s contribution being supported by cameos all around. Earlier, batting first, Bangladesh recovered from a precarious 95 for 5 to post a reasonable score of 247 for the loss of six wickets.
Shakib Al Hasan’s was the star of the show with the bat for the hosts, striking an impregnable 85. He was ably supported by Mahmudullah, who carried on his good form against the Indians and remained unbeaten on 64. Unfortunately for Bangladesh, the Indians proved to be too good for them once again and raced home to an easy win.
Kohli, who was deservedly named Man of the Match, batted in a commanding manner, proving that he has learnt very quickly from his past mistakes. His cuts, drives and pulls were equally impressive and the beleaguered bowlers had no answer to Kohli’s prowess.
He slammed Shafiul Islam for a number of boundaries with great authority and similar punishment was meted out to Naeem Islam as well. Kohli went on to complete a well-compiled hundred with a leg side whip off Shakib’s bowling and end the game.
The new India number three was lucky to be offered a couple of lives. Mohammad Ashraful dropped him off Syed Rasel’s bowling at deep midwicket. Kohli was then on 83. Very soon, wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim missed a stumping chance created by Shakib.
A couple of balls later Suresh Raina was reprieved as well, but it hardly could have had any impact on the game.
What could have helped Bangladesh was early wickets, but that was far from the case. Dinesh Karthik and Gautam Gambhir were offered plenty of width to play their favourite shots.
While Dinesh cut with ease, Gambhir flicked away a number of deliveries directed at his pads. The openers though would be disappointed for failing to capitalize on their starts. Karthik edged one to the keeper when on 34 and Gambhir’s wild swing led to his downfall while on 41. India lost Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni in pursuit of the chase, but Kohli and Raina saw India through without much difficulty in dewy conditions.
Despite the loss, Bangladesh can take heart from their batting performance, their recovery being nothing short of sensational. The fightback began courtesy a century partnership between Shakib and Mahmudullah. Shakib, who was given a life when in the 30s, went on to punish the Indian bowlers severely.
He was especially severe on the spinners, slamming Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra for sixes over midwicket. It needed Ashish Nehra’s skill, a slower ball, to see the back of Shakib. At the other end, Mahmudullah continued with his merry ways.
He was severe on all the bowlers, be it the seamers or spinners. Naeem contributed a whirlwind 22 towards the end as Bangladesh took 95 from the final 10 overs. But, it still wasn’t good enough to overpower the Indians.
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