Chasing 297 assumed tougher proportions with dew playing a lesser role than previous days and Bangladesh spinners were able to stick to a tight line for most of part of the Indian innings.
The early departure of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh, with just 51 on the board, only added to the difficulty of the task.
But skipper Dhoni made the night his own with a seventh one-day hundred that powered India to a six-wicket win at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium here on Thursday.
The rapidly maturing Virat Kohli (91, 102b, 7x4) too should be given a lot of credit for giving Dhoni admirable support for a decisive fourth-wicket alliance worth 152 runs, coming in 26.5 overs.
The pitch was not conducive for strokeplay, the duo’s natural style of batting, forcing them to take a different route.
he Dhoni-Kohli pair was watchful, but did not let go an opportunity to free its hands when the bowlers erred in line and length.
The salient feature of their alliance was the running between the wickets. The duo realised that boundaries will be at a premium on this ground due to the wet outfield, and they concentrated on taking singles and doubles to keep the board ticking. The constant running had its effect on Kohli towards the latter part of his innings when he had to use Gambhir as runner.
The persistence of Kohli finally came to an end when he offered a tame return catch to Bangladesh captain Shakib al Hasan, nine short of his second one-day hundred.
But by then, the Delhi lad had done a tremendous job, and Suresh Raina completed the formalities along with Dhoni while adding 94 for the fifth wicket.
Earlier, Bangladesh were able to piece together regular partnerships, helping them pile up a huge total. Skipper Shakib surprised many while opting to bat first despite the threat dew posed under the lights.
Openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes justified Shakib’s decision, adding 80 with the former dominating the stand completely. Exploiting the finest conditions to bat, Iqbal cut the Indian attack into shreds and new-ball bowlers Ashish Nehra and S Sreesanth were the victims of his aggression.
Kayes had his share of luck when Harbhajan Singh grassed him on seven off Nehra. The left-hander capitalised on the reprieve to telling effect, scoring 70 to anchor Bangladesh’s progress. But it was Iqbal who set the tone with a forceful knock and he was particularly severe on Zaheer Khan, who tried to unsettle with him a few short-pitched deliveries, but the southpaw answered him with power-packed pulls.
Sreesanth finally managed to get rid of Iqbal when Gambhir latched onto his pull. Mohammad Ashraful came to the middle accompanied by loud cheers, but he could not force the pace as expected. The mercurial right-hander departed after adding 68 sedate runs with Kayes and his dismissal saw the home side losing wickets at regular intervals. At 238 for six with not much batting to come, Bangladesh were in danger of ending up with a below par score.
Few could have imagined Bangladesh utilising the batting Power Play that they took from the 46th over considering the hosts were left with no specialist batsman.
But Mahmudulla used the fielding restrictions to perfection, bulldozing his way to a 45-ball 60 that powered Bangladesh to near 300 total. But the total proved not enough for a victory on the night.
Iqbal c Gambhir b Sreesanth 60
(42b, 10x4, 1x6)
Kayes c Kohli b Nehra 70
(100b, 5x4, 1x6)
Ashraful b Jadeja 29
Shakib (run out) 0
Raqibul lbw Harbhajan 32
(40b, 1x4, 1x6)
Rahim c Jadeja b Yuvraj 6
Mahmudulla (not out) 60
Islam (not out) 14
Extras (LB-4, W-17, NB-4) 25
Total (6 wkts, 50 overs) 296
Fall of wickets: 1-80 (Iqbal), 2-148 (Ashraful), 3-156 (Shakib), 4-188 (Kayes), 5-206 (Rahim), 6-238 (Raqibul)
Bowling: Nehra 6-0-44-1 (nb-2, w-4), Sreesanth 8-0-54-1 (nb-2, w-4), Zaheer 6-0-43-0 (w-4), Harbhajan 9-0-56-1 (w-2), Yuvraj 10-0-33-1 (w-1), Jadeja 9-0-45-1, Sehwag 2-0-17-0 (w-2).
Runs during Power Plays: Power Play 1: 1-10: 73/1, Power Play 2: 12-16: 25/0; Power Play 3: 46-50: 54/0.
Gambhir b Rubel 18
Sehwag (run out) 13
Kohli c&b Shakib 91
Yuvraj b Rasel 1
Dhoni (not out) 101
Raina (not out) 51
(43b, 5x4, 1x6)
Extras (LB-6, W-13, NB-3) 22
Total (4 wkts, 47.3 overs) 297
Fall of wickets: 1-29 (Sehwag), 2-49 (Gambhir), 3-51 (Yuvraj), 4-203 (Kohli).
Bowling: Rasel 9.3-0-58-1 (nb-2, w-2), Razzak 9-0-66-0 (w-4), Hossain 9-0-60-1 (nb-1, w-3), Shakib 10-0-45-1 (w-2), Islam 2-0-16-0, Mahmudulla 7-0-38-0 (w-2), Ashraful 1-0-8-0
Runs during Power Plays: Power Play 1: 1-10: 58/3, Power Play 2: 11-15: 21/0; Power Play 3 (batting): 25/0.