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India begin with a bang, chase down stiff target

- Varun Aaron taken off the attack for bowling beamers
Mushfiqur Rahim celebrates his century, on Wednesday

Fatullah: Stand-in captain Virat Kohli smashed a magnificent 136 and shared a 213-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane (73) to lead India to a comfortable six-wicket win over hosts Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, here, at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium, here, on Wednesday.

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim had also hit a sparkling century to help his team post a challenging 279 for seven after India opted to field.

This was the second time in ODI history that both captains scored hundreds in the same match. But Mushfiqur’s excellent knock was simply overshadowed by Kohli’s effortless show that helped India earn their first victory this year.

Courtesy Kohli’s 19th ODI century, India launched a superb recovery after cheap dismissals of openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma and overhauled the target with six balls to spare.

Rahane also played a key role in India’s victory as Kohli and he batted together for 33 overs before being separated. India were just 13 runs away from the target when Kohli was castled by pacer Rubel Hossain in the 46th over.

Kohli’s 136-run knock came off 122 balls with 18 boundaries and two sixes while Rahane played 83 balls for his innings, which comprised seven fours and a six.

The only blot in Kohli’s innings was a mistimed aerial flick at square leg when on 35. But fortunately for him, Rubel could not reach out to the ball. And the blot for India in this game was two beamers from pacer Varun Aaron that barred him bowling.

Aaron’s second beamer was in the last ball of the 39 th over when he hit Mushfiqur on the chest. The umpire immediately signalled a no-ball and as a result, Aaron was taken off, having bowled 7.5 overs and conceding 74 runs.

Coming back to India’s chase, it was also helped by Bangladesh’s bizarre bowling changes. Ziaur Rehman, who started off well with Rohit Sharma’s wicket, was taken off after being bowled for just two overs.

He came back to bowl at the 23 rd over, but by then, Kohli and Rahane had settled down nicely, helping India’s run chase gather steam.

But once Kohli and Rahane got going, they simply looked clueless. Kohli took the bowlers to the cleaners as shots flowed from Rahane’s bat as well after his slow start. The partnership was broken when India required only 13 runs to win.

Dinesh Karthik (9 not out) and Ambati Rayudu (2 not out) had no problems in taking India home.

Earlier, Mushfiqur’s century was the first for Bangladesh against India since Alok Kapali’s hundred in the 2008 Asia Cup. Young opener Anamul Haque (77) too impressed with a half-century in a 133-run third wicket partnership with his captain.

Mohammed Shami was the pick of Indian bowlers, scalping four for 50 from his quota of 10 overs.