India waltz past Bangladesh to seal semis berth

India waltz past Bangladesh to seal semis berth

After a series of setbacks in the last three days, the Indian cricket team had something to cheer about on Friday when their third successive Super Ten win in Group 2 sealed them a place in World T20 semifinal.

The Indians produced another disciplined bowling show to restrict Bangladesh to 138 for seven here at the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium after opting to field first. It was the highest total that India had to chase in three matches but they completed the job with minimum fuss, replying with 141 for a facile eight-wicket victory.

Shikhar Dhawan was back in the hut early but Virat Kohli (57 n.o., 50b, 3x4, 1x6) stroked his way another innings of substance and no less style while Rohit Sharma (56, 44b, 5x4, 1x6) brought up his second half-century in as many matches to reduce the roars in the packed stands to mere whimpers. The two right-handers put together an even 100 in mere 76 balls to shut virtually shut Bangladesh out of the tournament.

MS Dhoni (22 n.o., 12b, 1x4, 2x6) had his first hit in three matches as the skipper applied finishing touches to India’s chase with a mighty six. India, on six points from three wins, take on Australia in their final Super Ten engagement on Sunday.  
      
In the spotlight for all the wrong reasons following Superme Court’s adverse remarks against the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the Indian Premier League, it wouldn’t have been easy to remain focussed on the job. But on a day when things began to tilt in their favour, the apex court allowed Chennai Super Kings, which is also led by Dhoni, and Rajasthan Royals to participate in IPL-7.

Luck with toss

Then, in the day’s first match, West Indies put it across Australia to ensure that a win for India in the second clash of the day would ensure them a berth in the knockouts. The seemingly good day rounded off with Dhoni winning the toss and the match for the third time in succession.

Bangladesh were coming off two forgettable batting performances against Hong Kong (in the qualifiers) and West Indies on Sunday. Their total of 108 all out was overhauled by minnows Hong Kong with relative comfort while the hosts were dismissed for a paltry 98 while chasing West Indies’ 171/7.

In a must-win match to stay in race for a place in the semifinal, at least theoretically, Bangladesh needed to up their batting by a notch against a bowling attack that had restricted two explosive batting line-ups to modest totals -- Pakistan had posted 130/7 while West Indies could muster only 129/7. Bangladesh batting, marked by confusion and chaos, needed to tone down its reckless attack but at the same time not embrace too much restraint. They managed to achieve that only partially, presenting another easy chase for the Indians.

Bright beginning

The hosts began on a bright note with Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque (44) taking 13 runs off the opening over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Normalcy, however, was restored by R Ashwin (2/15) by the fourth over.

The off-spinner struck twice in as many balls, accounting for Tamim and Shamsur Rahman who in a moment of brain-freeze tried to send the first ball he faced out of the park only to be caught in the deep. Shakib Al Hasan lasted just two deliveries before chopping Bhuvneshwar on to his stumps. 
     
At 21 for three, the innings was going nowhere but decent contributions from Anamul, skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah (33 n.o.) steered them to respectable total. A more disciplined approach would have fetched them some more runs but irresponsible shots once again led to their downfall. Amit Mishra (3/26) came up with another beguiling performance, his last and innings’ final over going for just seven runs while yielding two wickets.

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