India cruises into semis

Men in Blue register emphatic 109-run victory over Bangladesh

India cruises into semis

India stormed into semi-finals of the World Cup on Thursday riding on Rohit Sharma’s century which helped the defending champions defeat Bangladesh by 109 runs.

On a day when Bangladesh bowled and fielded with purpose for about one-third of India’s innings, Rohit made a big difference with a century that stood out as much for its restraint and responsibility as for its elegance and urgency towards the end. Rohit’s seventh ODI ton (137, 126b, 14x4, 3x6) was the rock on which India built their intimidating 302 for six with no little help from Suresh Raina (65, 57b, 7x4, 1x6).

Once the batsmen did their bit, bowlers completed their job with the same efficiency they have been displaying all along the tournament. The sustained hostility of the pacers and the guile of the spinners were too much to handle for Bangladesh who collapsed under the weight of an intimidating target and their own unrealistic expectations.

Paceman Umesh Yadav was the stand-out performer with figures of 4/31 from nine overs, besides combining with Ravindra Jadeja in the run out of opener Imrul Kayes, as Bangladesh were bundled out for 193 in 45 overs, handing India a handsome win here at the MCG. India’s 11th consecutive win in World Cup, stretching from the last edition, was a touch special because this was also MS Dhoni’s 100th victory as a captain.
Not to be left behind was India’s fielding that saw them pull off two stunning catches apart from the high quality groundwork. Shikhar Dhawan’s “hold-throw in the air-cross the boundary-hold again” catch obviously stood out for its skill if not the uniqueness but Dhoni’s one-handed catch while diving to his left to dismiss Soumya Sarkar was no less scintillating.

Rohit the accumulator and Raina the aggressor combined to raise 122 runs off 96 balls for the fourth wicket, salvaging the innings that was going nowhere after India had laboured to 115/3 after 28 overs. While Rohit looked a bit under pressure as one partner after another deserted him in quick succession, Raina calmed the nerves with a brisk half-century.

Rohit was happy to cede limelight to his more aggressive partner and cut loose after an umpiring error threw him a lifeline on 90. That, however, hardly should take anything away from his innings or indeed from India’s performance.

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