It was a game India should have lost after putting up a shoddy performance with the bat, ball and in the field. But, Hardik Pandya bowled the last over in which he conceded nine when the opponents needed 11It was a game India should have lost after putting up a shoddy performance with the bat, ball and in the field. But, Hardik Pandya bowled the last over in which he conceded nine when the opponents needed 11. There were two boundaries early when Mushfiqur Rahim whacked a slower ball through extra cover, and then scooped another length ball past the keeper. But, he pulled the next ball straight to Shikhar Dhawan at deep midwicket. Mahmudullah (18) perished next ball trying to slog a full toss, as Ravindra Jadeja took a tumbling catch in the deep. Mustafizur Rahman was then run out off the last ball, unable to beat MS Dhoni to the crease, as India stayed alive with a one-run win at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore
Chasing 147, Bangladesh got off to a solid start as Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rahman took Bangladesh to 55 for 1 in the eighth over. But, India had a stroke of luck as Rahman, looking good on 26 from 14, lifted his foot for an mini-second after missing a stroke against Suresh Raina, and it was enough for Dhoni to take the bails off. Earlier, Iqbal eased his way to 35 from 32, including four in one over from Jasprit Bumrah, who had just dropped him. But, the pace bowler came back brilliantly, conceding only six runs in a yorker-filled 19th over. It gave Pandya and India enough breathing space to stay alive.
Earlier, Bangladesh’s bowlers delivered excellent lines and lengths to restrict India to 146 for 7, after winning the toss and deciding to bowl in a key Group 2 contest. On a pitch where getting the big shots was difficult, Indian batsmen could not got themselves in, and thus could not finish off with an imposing score. The Bangladesh bowlers read the conditions brilliantly. Shakib Al Hasan and Mashrafe Mortaza brought all their experience into play, conceding less than six runs per over. Rahman was brilliant at the death with his yorkers, not allowing the Indians to get away, keeping even Dhoni quiet at the end.
India’s overdependence on Virat Kohli again came to the fore. Kohli had a rare day when he did not look in sync. He broke the shackles by smacking Shuvagata Hom for a flat six over deep midwicket, but fell next ball for a run-a-ball 24 trying to repeat the result with a sweep. At 95 for 2 in the 14th over, India were beginning to get into a decent position, but Kohli’s dismissal changed it all. Suresh Raina, who had slammed back-to-back sixes off Al-Amin Hossain earlier in the innings, fell for 30 off 23, hitting a short one from the same bowler straight to midwicket.
India got off to a slow start as Mortaza and Hom kept things tight in the first couple of overs against Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. Mortaza moved his bowlers around, not allowing India to settle. The shackles were broken when Rohit swung Mustafizur for a six in the sixth over, and Dhawan got another maximum off a half-volley. A slower ball however saw Rohit hitting one straight up in the air. Next over, Shakib trapped Dhawan lbw with a slightly quicker one. Wickets kept falling in the middle overs before a couple of big hits from Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja took them closer to 150.
--By A Cricket Correspondent