The Telegraph
Saturday , March 29 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

After Pak and WI, Bangla too bow to clinical Indians

Dhaka: The last couple of days have hardly been inspiring for Team India. Despite success on the field, events back home is sure to have taken its toll on the players.

If the Supreme Court’s interim order on Friday brought relief, it showed in their performance. The bowlers were clinical in their execution of plans while the target of 139 hardly posed any problems to the Rohit Sharmas and the Virat Kohlis during the eight-wicket victory.

Such one-sided contests doesn’t encourage spectator participation and more than half the stadium had left much before India confirmed their semi-final berth in the World T20.

Going by the way things have unfolded, it will come as a surprise if Australia manage to stretch the Indians.

Shikhar Dhawan’s early dismissal notwithstanding, the second wicket pair showed that there was no devil in the wicket or in Bangladesh’s bowling to unsettle India.

Till Rohit (56 off 44 balls) decided to slash outside the off stump, it looked like there was no stopping the duo who stitched together 100 runs.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni promoted himself in the batting order to get some decent match practice ahead of the semi-finals. But the move will hardly encourage Yuvraj Singh, who has been going through a lean phase.

With the net run-rate unlikely to come into contention any more, Yuvraj’s presence could have proved more useful to the team.

There’s just no stopping Kohli (57 not out off 50 balls). He took time to get used to the slow wicket, but showed no urgency to go for his shots.

Both Rohit and Kohli seem to have developed a good understanding which help their partnership to prosper. They back each other and take every opportunity as a challenge.

The way the Indians have batted in this tournament, a target of at least 170 is needed to give the opposition a ray of hope.

The middle-order has hardly been tested though. Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja haven’t had a go in this tournament and may face trouble in adjusting to the conditions.

Don’t forget the middle and late order will have to share bulk of the responsibility in case of a collapse.

It was Dhoni, though, who hit the winning runs on Friday. A massive six of Ziaur Rahman brought the curtains down with nine balls remaining.

“It’s been a good performance… We still need to improve… We have dropped a few catches but that has happened to quite a few teams in this tournament…

“The next few matches are going to be tough,” said Dhoni.

The India captain said there were no plans for celebrating the entry into the semi-finals. “No celebrations as such… We were slightly unlucky in Sri Lanka, we didn’t qualify for the next round. That turned out to be a big loss and it hurts us.

“The team comprise good players who are capable of delivering when it matters, particularly in this format.

“ I’ve immense faith in the team. The next few games are going to be extremely tough and we have to be at our best.”

To put it simply, Bangladesh hardly possessed the ammunition to derail Dhoni’s men.

The huge uproar that followed home team’s loss to the West Indies, including a pep talk from the Board president Nazmul Hassan, will only grow louder.

Bangladesh had threatened to go beyond the 150-run mark with hefty strikes in the 17th and 18th overs that cost 12 and 14 runs, respectively, but credit must go to Amit Mishra for applying the brakes in the final over.

The leg-spinner dismissed Nasir Hossain and Zia-ur with consecutive deliveries but the hat-trick was foiled by Mahmudullah, who remained unbeaten on 33 off 23 balls.

Mishra (three for 26) is living a dream. He once again was the most successful, consistently deceiving the batsman by the pace, flight and turn.

Anamul Haque (44 off 43 balls) was castled by a googly, the batsman failing to react after committing himself to an adventurous shot.

The most striking feature is that Mishra remains undaunted even when the batsman goes on the offensive.

Perhaps this is the result of the confidence gained through a sense of stability.

Perhaps Mishra’s success has rubbed on Ravichandran Ashwin (2/15) too.

He’s made it a habit to provide breakthroughs in the Powerplay overs and that makes Dhoni’s task a wee bit easier.

Along with Ravindra Jadeja, the trio form a lethal combination that could go a long way in scripting India’s success in the tournament.