DateLine: 15th June 2017
By Andy Jalil at Edgbaston
India win sets up show-piece final with Pakistan
Birmingham – India eased their way into the final of the Champions Trophy after a crushing defeat of Bangladesh by 9 wickets. Man of the match, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, with an unbroken stand of 178, saw their side to 265 for one. Curiously both the semi-final matches have turned out to be very much one-sided. Pakistan disposed of England, the previous day, by eight wickets with 12.5 overs to spare while India had 9.5 overs remaining in passing the Bangladesh total.
With India’s strong batting line-up, their target of 265 did not appear to be particularly daunting. Once again both opening batsmen, Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan gave their side a solid start. Previously Sharma had 78 and Dhawah 125 against SriLanka in a stand of 138 and Dhawan followed that with 78 against South Africa. On this occasion, while his partner fell a little short of a half century, Sharma piled on the runs and agony on the opposition.
There was little respite for Bangladesh after Dhawan was dismissed edging his drive for a catch at point off Mashrafe Mortaza in the 15th over having hit 46 from 34 balls and 34 of those runs came from boundaries. They had put on 87 for the opening stand and with Virat Kohli joining Sharma the run spree continued. Mustafizur Rahman and Taksim Ahmed had been replaced earlier when after two overs they each had conceded 21 runs. In fact none of the eight bowlers used made any impression on Kholi and Sharma who played their shots freely all around the wicket.
Kohli got into the thirties with a four off Rubel Hossain and in the same over Sharma took two fours to take his score to 78. His captain’s half century took just 42 balls and their hundred partnership only 89 balls. Their entertaining strokeplay continued with Sharma bringing up his second century of the competition, from 111 balls, in style with a six hooked over long leg.
Kohli finished unbeaten on 96 from only 78 balls after driving elegantly to the cover boundary for the winning shot and Sharma was 123 not out from 129 balls. Bangladesh bowlers looked increasingly hapless as the two batsmen dominated the play and scored at ease and Kohli passed 8,000 ODI runs during his superb innings.
Earlier, India were quick to strike after asking Bangladesh to bat first. Soumya Sarkar played-on to a ball just outside off stump from Bhuvneshwar Kumar without scoring and in the sixth over, with 31 on the scoreboard, the second wicket fell. It was a slower ball from Kumar and Sabbir Rahman cut it straight to backward point. Kumar had taken the two wickets for 15 in a space of 18 balls.
Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim then staged a revival of the innings in an excellent, quick-scoring stand of 123 from 134 balls. Tamim has been in fine form in the competition with 128 against England in the opening game of the competition and following that with 95 against Australia. This time his 70 came from 82 balls with 7 fours and a six. Mushfiqur Rahim, who had 79 against England, got another half-century hitting 61 from 85 but just when the innings looked pretty solid on 154 for two from 28 overs, India struck.
Tamim, having played a few dot balls, felt he needed to get on with it. It wasn’t quite the ball from Jadhav, to sweep. It was straight and not particularly short which Tamim missed. Rahim and Shakib Al Hassan did not make much progress, adding just 23 before Shakib top-edged his cut behind the stumps off Ravi Jadeda. Two runs later it was 179 for five with Jadhav striking again with the important wicket of Rahim whose mistimed pull was held by Kohli at mid-on.
The last two wickets that fell were claimed by Jasprit Bumrah who removed Mosaddek Hossain and Mahmudullah in a space of 10 balls. He took a return catch from Mosaddek who mistimed his pull to give an easy looping catch and on the total of 229 Bumrah yorked Mahmudullah for 21. The unbroken eighth wicket stand of 35 took the total finally to 264 with Mortaza unbeaten with 30 from 25 balls, boosting the total a little.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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