India 166 for 6 (Rohit 83, Pandya 31, Al-Amin 3-37) beat Bangladesh 121 for 7 (Sabbir 44, Nehra 3-23) by 45 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Rohit Sharma’s counterattacking fifty lifted India to a competitive total © AFP/Getty Images
Rohit Sharma is a one-day nerd. He takes his time at the start, gets accustomed to conditions and cashes in only once he is set. India were sent in on a noticeably green pitch in Mirpur and the ball was nipping about. Bangladesh, armed with four fast bowlers, made the test as difficult as they could with tight lines around the off stump and moving the ball both ways. Shikhar Dhawan failed. Virat Kohli failed. Suresh Raina failed. Rohit could have failed too – he had 21 hard-earned runs when he was dropped by Shakib Al Hasan – but he did what good batsmen do and cashed in. Soon, even questions meant to flummox him – like Mustafizur Rahman – became easy. He mistimed one of Mustafizur’s delivery for a six over square leg en route to a pristine 83 off 55 balls which led India past Bangladesh in their Asia Cup T20 opener.
Rohit’s form is old news for India. His innings was clearly the difference between the two sides, but the most heartening outcome from the Mirpur match was Hardik Pandya passing his own exam with flying colours. He was promoted to No. 6, ahead of MS Dhoni who was declared fit to play even if he had to use a back brace while keeping wicket, and matched Rohit’s strike rate. What was remarkable is that Rohit usually goes beserk after he has bedded into an innings, but Pandya was able to reel off boundaries – five in 11 balls – to thrust India’s score from the possible to the improbable. They had been 97 for 4 with only 5.1 overs left and finished at 166 for 6.
That total was placed under a little trouble from Sabbir Rahman, who struck 44 off 32 balls, but the other end became a revolving door of batsmen and by the end, Bangladesh’s concerns were more about batting the 20 overs out than chasing the total down. With each passing minute, they would have felt sore at what could have been. Had Shakib taken Rohit’s slice at point in the 11th over, India would have been stuck with a misfiring Yuvraj Singh, a relatively untested Pandya, the back-spasm hit Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja.
But Rohit was still around, and Taskin Ahmed was smarting from the missed opportunity. That pain would only increase as Rohit caressed the very next ball to the third man fence, then smashed a short and wide one over point for six and finished the hat-trick with a little help from Al-Amin Hossain misfielding at third man again. After his reprieve, Rohit struck at 229.62. Pandya came in and went at 172.22. Their partnership for the fifth wicket reached 50 off 17 balls and was broken only in the final over after 61 runs in 27 balls.
More to follow….
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo