Sharma leads India to win against Bangladesh

Rohit Sharma’s 83 off 55 balls helped India begin their Asia Cup campaign with a 45-run win against Bangladesh at Dhaka.

Sharma’s innings was a necessary one for the visitors, who had been initially left shaken by Bangladesh’s bowling, but India recovered to post 166 for six with Hardik Pandya adding a vital 31 to the cause.

After the turnaround, Bangladesh were unable to mount a full-on chase, despite Sabbir Rahman’s 44, as Ashish Nehra brought India wickets at the start and towards the end, with the Tigers’ innings ending on just 121 for seven in 20 overs.

Fuelled by a vociferous home crowd, Bangladesh stifled India’s normally attack-minded batting at the start, the dangerous Shikhar Dhawan being bowled for just two by a superb swinging delivery from Al-Amin Hossain.

It set the early tone for the hosts, who then saw the back of Virat Kohli (eight), the right-hander slightly mis-timing skipper Mashrafe Mortaza’s delivery for a simple catch at mid-off.

Even the dependable Suresh Raina could not stage the rescue act, bowled for 13 by Mahmudullah, leaving instead a patient Sharma to first survive being dropped before smashing his way to another half-century.

He meted out the treatment to both Taskin Ahmed and Mortaza with aplomb, though Yuvraj Singh (15) was gone after a half-century partnership as he was caught in the deep by Soumya Sarkar off Shakib Al Hasan’s spin.

India were still only at 97 for four at the 15-over mark, but Hardik Pandya joined Rohit for a 61-run stand off just 4.3 overs, in which the new man was unafraid to risk the big shots.

Sharma at last fell in the final over, caught in the deep off Hossain, who also had Pandya out similarly, as India stumbled to 166 for six.

Bangladesh should have started their batting strongly, but instead found themselves two down in quick time, Mohammad Mithun bowled by Nehra in the second over, before Jasprit Bumrah had Soumya Sarkar caught behind in the next set.

Rahman and Imrul Kayes (14) were charged with the recovery, and a good start slowly built into a 35-run partnership.

Soon though, Kayes tried to break the shackles off Ravichandran Ashwin and was caught slogging. While Rahman tried to steer things with a couple of sixes, Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan was run out after a miscommunication.

As slight panic set in, Rahman eventually paid the price with a pull shot looping high and into the hands of wicketkeepr Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and with 85 needed from 35, defeat started to seem inevitable.

Nehra then returned in the 17th over to resolve the issue, grabbing two wickets in successive deliveries, Mahmadullah and Mortaza his victims.

And in the end a final over from Ravindra Jadeja, with 50 required to win, proved merely academical.

Source: ECB

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