Bangladesh produced one of their very best batting performance as they chased down India’s mammoth total of 289 with 5 wickets in hand and 4 balls to spare. In a match that went down in history with Sachin Tendulkar scoring his 100th hundred, ended with Bangladesh crunching the win. This is the second time Bangladesh has shocked India, after the 2007 World Cup where they knocked India out of the tournament. This time, Bangladesh came up with a solid batting performance as all batsmen got starts, and made sure they converted them into something big. India dearly missed their bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan, as inexperienced Indian bowlers suffered to contain the Bangladeshi batsmen in the death overs. India would be disappointed at the end of the day, as even Sachin Tendulkar found it difficult to manage a smile while he recieved a special memento from Bangladesh Cricket Board, congratulating him for his 100th international hundred.
After winning the toss, Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim put India in for bat, hoping that this would restrict India’s aggressive batting line-up. After Gambhir (11) was bowled early on, it looked like Bangladesh did the right thing by bowling first. But there on, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli denied Bangladesh any further success as both played with ease. None of the Bangladeshi bowlers troubled any of them, as India cruised on. Things got tensed in the batting powerplay, as Sachin Tendulkar started nearing his 100th international hundred. Bangladeshi bowlers built up the pressure as Mushfiqur Rahim brought the field in to restrict easy singles. Someone had to break shackles, and with Tendulkar nearing his personal milestone, Virat Kohli took the responsibility. Though, it wasn’t to be three successive hundreds for Kohli (66) as he failed to cut a delivery which crashed into his stumps.
Dhoni promoted Suresh Raina ahead of him, expecting him to up the ante while Tendulkar progressed peacefully at the other end. Even though Suresh Raina played a quickfire 38 ball 51, India conceded a bit too many dot balls while Sachin (114) was nearing his hundred. And that cost India 10-15 runs in the end. Despite Dhoni blasting his way to 21* off jsut 11 balls, India finished on 289/5.
Honestly speaking, very few people expected Bangladesh to make a game of this one. India had a good start with the ball as Praveen Kumar got rid of Nazimuddin (5) early on. Tamim Iqbal tried to break the shackles, as he flirted with danger in his knock of 70 off 99 balls. He was ably supported by Jahurul Islam (53) as both laid the foundation for Bangladeshi middle order with a 113 run partnership. After Jahurul Islam got out in the 29th over, Nasir Hossain and Tamim Iqbal continued to score runs at brisk rate to inch Bangladesh closer to the target.
Dhoni, desperate to get some wickets, brought back his premier bowler Praveen Kumar and he did not disappoint either. Praveen removed Tamim Iqbal, the anchor of Bangladeshi innings, in the 34th over. Skabib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain had a daunting task in front of them as they needed 134 to win from just 97 balls. The duo got going with the job at their hand, as Shakib started taking the Indian bowlers on. The ex-Bangladeshi skipper blasted two sixes along with five boundaries to keep up with the required run-rate. Nasir Hossain, on the other hand, played a steady innings, ensuring Bangladesh didn’t lose wickets.
The defining moment of the match came when Dhoni produced a lightening quick work behind the stumps to stump Shakib Al Hasan off the bowling of Ashwin. The big-hitter had gone now, and Bangladesh still needed 66 to win from just 8 overs. Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim made sure Bangladesh didn’t stumble at the end this time around, as they had against Pakistan, as he steered his side home with a match-winning 46 off just 25 balls which included three towering sixes in the death overs, that won the match for Bangladesh.
What this result means is that India have to grind their guts against Pakistan on coming Sunday. Pakistan have already entered Asia Cup finals after they defeated Sri Lanka with a bonus point. Even Sri Lanka spring back to life in the competition. Theoretically, either of Bangladesh, India or Sri Lanka can advance to the finals. Though practically, India still hold the edge. Only if Bangladesh can perform similarly against Sri Lanka, we may well be in for a surprise.
BRIEF SCORES :
INDIA : 289/5 in 50 overs ( Tendulkar 114, Kohli 66 ; Mortaza 44/2 )
BANGLADESH : 293/5 in 49.2 overs ( Tamim Iqbal 70, Nasir Hossain 54 ; Praveen Kumar 56/3 )
BY 5 WICKETS AND 4 BALLS TO SPARE
Man of the Match : Shakib Al Hasan.