India started their Asia Cup 2016 campaign with a resounding 45-run win over Bangladesh at Mirpur. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar applauded batsman Rohit Sharma’s effort but reserved special praise for veteran pacer Ashish Nehra, saying he has proven “age is just a number”. (Highlights)
Nehra started Bangladesh’s woes by removing Mohammad Mithun in the third over and later returned to take two more wickets to finish with figures of three for 23 in his four overs. (Rohit, Nehra Take India to Big Win Over Bangladesh in Opener)
A solid bowling performance by the Indians helped them restrict the hosts to 121 for seven after India had posted a challenging 166 for six on a green-top.
The left-arm pacer was even on the brink of a hat-trick when he dismissed Mahmudullah and Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza of consecutive deliveries but Taskin Ahmed thwarted him. (Dhoni Impressed With ‘Fearless’ Hardik Pandya)
“Ashish Nehra has proven age is just a number. He is mixing his deliveries well and bowling craftily. He has done really well for India so far,” Gavaskar told NDTV.
Gavaskar also praised opener Rohit Sharma, who smashed 83 off 55 balls to bail India out from a precarious position and power them to 166 for six.
“Rohit has got the ability to time his innings well. His shot selection has been terrific. He made batting look so easy when others were struggling.”
The former India opener said that the turning point of the match was when Shakib Al Hasan dropped Rohit when he was batting on 21.
“The turning point of the match was when Shakib dropped Rohit. You just can’t drop a player like Rohit and especially when he is in this sort of form. Bangladesh will need to go back and do a lot more fielding practice,” said Gavaskar.
India, however, didn’t have it all their way in the match. Shikhar Dhawan (2), Virat Kohli (8) and Suresh Raina (13) fell early as India were reduced to 42 for three.
Yuvraj Singh (15) and Rohit added 55 runs for the fourth wicket to lead India’s fightback. But it was the partnership between Hardik Pandya (31) and Rohit that took the match away from the hosts.
The duo strung together 61 runs off 27 balls to power India past the 150-run mark.
“Rohit Sharma-Hardik Pandya partnership did the trick for India. In T20 format chasing anything above 150 is difficult,” said Gavaskar.
India next take on Pakistan on Saturday.