Chahal pick of bowlers
Stand-in captain Rohit Sharma made it a memorable 100th T20I blending grace with power during his 85 off 43 balls as India cantered to a series-levelling eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh on Thursday.
Chasing 154, Rohit showed the gulf in class between him and the others, hitting six fours and half-a-dozen sixes as India chased down the target in 15.4 overs.
Since the start of 2018, India have a 7-7 record while batting first, but they’ve done better while chasing: Thursday’s win was their 13th in 16 completed games. The final game of the series will be played in Nagpur on Sunday.
Such was Rohit’s dominance during the 118-run opening stand that Shikhar Dhawan managed just 31 off 27 balls. While Bangladesh managed to keep Dhawan quiet by denying him width, none of their plans had any impact on Rohit.
He found the gaps with ease and was equally adept when taking the aerial route. It included three consecutive sixes off Mosaddek Hossain, soon after crossing his half-century.
Rohit teed off in the fourth over of the innings when he hit an off-drive, followed by a cover drive and then a straight six off Mustafizur Rahaman.
Earlier, Indian bowlers led by Yuzvendra Chahal made an impressive comeback to restrict Bangladesh to 153 for 6.
Put into bat, Bangladesh could not capitalise on a good start as Chahal’s (2/28) double breakthrough in the 13th over pegged the visitors back. A quick-fire 30 off 21 balls by skipper Mahmudullah Riyad helped them cross the 150-mark.
Openers Liton Das (29 off 21 balls, 4x4) and Mohammad Naim (36 off 31 balls, 5x4) shared a 60-run opening stand.
Das though has to thank Rishabh Pant for managing to survive so long.
On Thursday, Pant appeared to have forgotten the basics as he “stumped” Das in Chahal’s first over, but video replays showed he had collected the ball in front of the stumps.
But in Chahal’s next over, he displayed quick thinking as he distracted the set Das with a loud appeal for leg-before having failed to collect the ball. Das, possibly distracted by the appeal, went for a risky single, but Pant dived and threw the ball at the stumps to scalp Bangladesh’s first wicket.
In Chahal’s third over, Soumya Sarkar stepped out but missed the slog; Pant collected the ball and removed the bails after dragging his gloves back. The TV umpire took his time with the replay and at first flashed ‘Not Out’. Sarkar started walking back to the crease, but suddenly the signal changed to ‘Out’. The first signal was a mistake. Relief for Pant as his gloves were barely behind the wickets.
Chahal, however, didn’t blame Pant and felt it was part and parcel of the game.
“We are team players, even I drop catches sometimes. No one wants to miss a catch or stumping, so no hard feelings with Pant. Just hard luck... Bowling in the death or Powerplay gives you more confidence,” Chahal said.
Chahal felt that there was something on the wicket for the spinners during the first half.
“When I bowled my first ball, I realised that it’s spinning. You have to vary your pace here,” said Chahal.
During his time away from the Indian team, Chahal was practising with the wet ball to counter the dew factor and that helped.
“When I was not part of the India team, I was practising with the wet ball, so dew didn’t affect me.
“My bowling depends on what I think the batsman is trying to do. Depending on that I bowl the top spinner, googly or slider,” the leg-break bowler said.