Virat and Rahane chase down 280 for India
Virat Kohli extended his batting form and augmented his captaincy record by leading India to a six-wicket win against Bangladesh. This was a welcome win for India, coming after two winless overseas tours. Owing to a record partnership between Virat and Ajinkya Rahane, India chased down Bangladesh’s 279 with an over to spare.
Shikhar Dhawan (28) and Rohit Sharma (21) began tentatively, as India’s total crawled to 38 in 10 overs. However, after having played themselves in, none of the two openers capitalized, falling in the 12th and 13th over respectively. Dhawan was wrapped lbw by Abdur Razzak in a failed attempt to sweep a straight ball and Rohit was bowled by Ziaur Rahman with a ball that jagged back in and caught the batsman on the backfoot.
After the openers departed, Virat Kohli (136) and Ajinkya Rahane (73) came together to form a partnership, which eventually was worth 213 runs, highest for the third wicket for India in Asia Cup. They dug deep and kept a cool head on their shoulders, running hard between the wickets and scoring run-a-ball while avoiding unnecessary risks.
Virat Kohli did what he has been doing since the last three years – take India home with a well-scripted century. His 19th ODI hundred was very similar to most of his previous tons in terms of its pace, quality and shots. The blend of caution and aggression was once again flawless and he was involved in a match-changing and eventually match-winning partnership, this time, with Rahane. Reaching the landmark in 124 innings, Virat also became the quickest to 19 ODI centuries.
Rahane eased into his role in the partnership and played the perfect ally. The two fit and agile batsmen were busy between the wickets and the strike was rotated without any fuss. Virat departed with a tired shot off Rubel Hossain while Rahane got caught in the deep trying to hit a straight six.
Earlier, Bangladesh scored 279 for 7 in their 50 overs, thanks to a fine ton from Mushfiqur Rahim.
Bhuvneshwar almost got a breakthrough in the first over of the match. An outswinger took the edge of Anamul Haque’s bat but neither R Ashwin nor Rohit Sharma, stationed at first and second slips respectively, made an attempt to catch it.
The wicket came for India in the sixth over when Mohammad Shami accepted a high return catch, but not before colliding with a charging Ambati Rayudu. It was the ninth time that Shami provided India with the first breakthrough – most by any bowler.
There was sporadic big hitting amidst some tight bowling in the first 10 overs. R Ashwin, bowling with a completely different action, not dissimilar to that of Sunil Narine, got a wicket off his first ball. Mominul Haque was out of his crease when the ball took an inside edge of his bat and rolled back to the stumps. Flummoxed, he was stumped by Karthik.
Varun Aaron had a forgettable day, as he was targeted right from him first over. While he consistently maintained the speed of over 140 kph, the line and length were rather inconsistent. On one occasion, Anamul Haque charged down the track and carted a 144 kph ball from him over the long-on fence. One of the most glaring aspects of Aaron’s bowling was the waist or above waist high full-tosses. He bowled two of them in the 39th over, the second one felling Mushfiqur Rahim and forcing Aaron out of the attack. Hence ended his nightmarish bowling performance with figures of 7.5-0-74-1. Aaron’s only wicket was that off Anamul Haque, off the only yorker he bowled in the innings.
The pick of India’s bowlers was Mohammad Shami, who delivered a first spell of 5-1-13-1 before limping off the field with a knee niggle. He returned into the attack in the 42nd over and picked up three wickets in his remaining five overs. Shami was the main reason why India restricted Bangladesh below 300, a mark they looked certain to cross at one point.
The second half of the Bangladesh innings was a Mushfiqur show throughout. The Bangladesh captain showed guts and gumption as he led his team with a 117 off 113 balls. He began his knock with caution before injecting it with a heavy dose of aggression. The assault was started against the spinners before taking it to the pacers. Aaron was at the harshest receiving end, being plonked for a couple of fours and a six in an over. Despite being felled with a beamer, the diminutive batsman showed tremendous courage to become only the second Bangladeshi batsman to score an ODI ton against India – the first was Alok Kapali.