Clinical India crush pitiful Tigers

Bangladesh’s nosedive in their Asia Cup campaign continued unabated as they succumb to an eight-wicket loss in their Super Four encounter against defending champions India at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday. 

The Tigers showed no fight in a batting department that is missing all-important opener Tamim Iqbal through injury and imploded to 174 all out in 49.1 overs — the third time in as many games that they failed to bat out the full 50 overs.

In reply, India skipper Rohit Sharma hit an untroubled and unbeaten 83 off 104 balls to take the side home with eight wickets and 13.4 overs to spare. Bangladesh got a consolation wicket at the end Mahendra Singh Dhoni was caught for a 37-ball 33 off skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza at sweeper cover with five runs to get.

Dhoni had come out to loud applause at number four after Rubel Hossain had Ambati Rayudu caught behind – a decision overturned upon review – in the 24th over, was unbeaten at the other end on a run-a-ball 35.

Bangladesh’s next Super Four match is against Afghanistan on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, and if they fall to another defeat to Afghanistan like they did on Thursday by 136 runs, they will almost certainly be out of the running for the final on September 28.

The platform for India’s smooth chase was laid by a 61-run opening stand between Shikhar Dhawan and Sharma, which ended when Shakib Al Hasan trapped the left-hander leg-before for a 47-ball 40 when Dhawan missed a sweep in the 15th over.

But India were never in any trouble as Sharma hit his 36th ODI fifty and carried on unfettered to finish with five fours and three sixes.

Earlier, Bangladesh played out 190 dot balls during a sorry innings that never really took off. Although the score would suggest that there was some lethal bowling from India or the pitch at the Dubai International Stadium was a landmine, that is far from the truth. While India fielded excellently and bowled solidly, it was a good batting wicket and all India did was cash in on Bangladesh’s suicidal urges. It could have been even worse had off-spinning all-rounder Mehedi Hasan Miraz (42 off 50) and captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (26 off 32) not put on a 66-run eighth-wicket partnership to rescue the team from the dire straits of 102 for seven.

Rescue, of course, is a relative term in this context. After Mashrafe followed a brace of sixes with a cute scoop off Bhuvneshwar Kumar to be caught at short fine leg in the 47th over, Bangladesh could add just five more runs as Mehedi holed out to deep midwicket in the next over off Jaspreet Bumrah and Mustafizur Rahman was caught off the same bowler with five balls remaining.

After their 136-run loss against Afghanistan in the last group match the previous day, the Tigers were bolstered by the returns of first-match centurion Mushfiqur Rahim and frontline pacer Mustafizur Rahman, both of whom were rested for the Afghanistan match to preserve energy for the more important game against India.

But while Mushfiqur’s return boosted morale, it did nothing to boost Bangladesh’s score as he, like four other specialist batsmen, was out to an irresponsible shot that did not take the match situation into consideration.

Bangladesh’s muddled mindset — they spent most of the match against Afghanistan deciding whether they wanted to win — and their weakened state was so obvious even before the match that India captain Rohit Sharma chose to field first in the Dubai heat after winning the toss. The common wisdom in the Asia Cup so far has been to bat first in order to spare the fielders and bowlers the worst of the ruthless conditions.

But Sharma seemed to have assessed that with Bangladesh’s batting frailties, it would be most beneficial if they shot them out for a low total and wrapped up the match quickly. At the halfway stage he was being proven right.

Even though captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza had said the previous night, after Bangladesh were bundled out for 119 by Afghanistan, that the top order batsmen could have taken more time to settle down, both openers Liton Das and rookie Nazmul Hossain were back in the pavilion by the sixth over, each departing within an over of the other. Liton hooked Bhuvneshwar Kumar to fine leg where Kedar Jadhav took a fine, low catch. Against Afghanistan, debutant Nazmul had perished charging Mujeeb Ur Rahman in his 13th ball for seven. He survived one more delivery against India, lashing at a Jaspreet Bumrah delivery without moving his feet and getting caught at slip, again for seven.

From two for 16 Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur carried the score to 4 at the start of the 10th over, raising hopes that the seniors would save the day. But, ironically, a no-ball from Ravindra Jadeja –in for the injured Hardik Pandya — changed all that. There was some controversy as Jadeja at first bowled the free hit ball while Sharma was still changing the field as the batsmen had crossed over. The ball, hit by Shakib towards cover and no run resulting from it, was eventually called a dead ball and the following remonstrations by the Indians with the umpire was all it apparently took to disrupt the concentration of Shakib, a veteran of 191 ODIs.

He slammed the actual free hit through the covers for four, swept the next ball past square leg for another boundary. But he failed to notice that a fielder was placed at square leg to stop just that shot and hit the next ball straight to him to be out for 17 with the score on 42 for three.

Mohammad Mithun did not last long as he was adjudged leg-before to Jadeja in the 16th over to a ball that struck the pad just before the bat, but the right-hander reviewed anyway and was disappointed. His waste of a review had repercussions later as Mahmudullah Riyad, the only top order batsman showing a bit of fight with 25 off 51, did not have a review to call upon after being given out leg-before off Kumar in the 33rd over even though there was a big inside edge.

Before that, in the 18th over, Mushfiqur reverse-swept Jadeja when in the middle of what could have been the beginning of a crucial stand with Mahmudullah and was caught at short fine leg for 21. After Mahmudullah’s dismissal, Mosaddek Hossain followed suit in the next over, giving Jadeja his fourth wicket with a wild swing that resulted in an edge and was caught by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, ending his innings on a tortuous 43-ball 12.

Source: The Daily Star

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