India started proceedings with a shocker. It all looked so normal with Shewag getting bat to ball with great velocity. Batting on 13 and looking good, He ran himself out trying to steal a single off a misfield, and fell victim of a direct hit by an agile Abul Razak with India on 28.
Shock number two was Gautham Gambir. Batting on 18, but taking into account that he is the man to bat through the innings, the prolific run scorer played on a wide delivery onto his stumps from Rubel Hossains’ gentle delivery, with India on 49.
While millions of Indian Television viewers round the world and limited spectators and players in the dressing room still pondering over the dismissal of both openers, disaster stuck a third time when premier batsman Yuvraj Singh played the wrong line off a Sayed Rasel delivery to send India reeling, on 51 for 3 wickets.
Virat Kholi was joined by skipper MS Dhoni and the drug prescribed, repair, resurrect and stay there till the 40th over at least. Dhoni and Kholi followed the doctor’s advice. They played to a certain plane, knowing very well In the back of their minds, the slippery ball , due to the inevitable dew factor will only make life easy if they hang around and play percentage cricket.
They nudged, chipped, put the loose balls away to the boundary while Dhoni used his bottom hand to great effect with the ball not spinning at all. Kholi took the Kolkota experience to Dakar, played with great maturity and proved that his inclusion in this strong batting lineup was fully justified.
Dhoni had a life batting on 62 with India on 185 for 3 wickets. Shakib Al Hassan dropped his counterpart off his own bowling. Kholi, who suffered cramps, was aided with a runner. In the run of play, he pushed a tossed up delivery from shakib Al Hassan ,only to be caught and bowled for 91, with India well on the way at 203 for 4 wickets.
The young right hander faced 102 balls and timed seven hits to the boundary. The fourth wicket partnership of 152 between Dhoni and Kholi almost sealed the game in favor of India, taking into account their balance in the bank consisting of Raina, Jadeja, Harbajan,Zaheer and even Nehera who can stand up if the need arises.
India took the batting power play in the 46th over with 25 to get from 30 balls with Dhoni on 93, and Raina on 36.Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, finished proceedings with 15 balls to spare, Dhoni reached his 7th ODI hundred to be unbeaten on 101, while Raina got to 51 in 43 balls.
The unbeaten 94 run partnership, between Raina and Dhoni was great to watch. The pair batted with so much ease. Dhoni made his 101 not out in 107 balls with 9 boundaries, while Raina joined the late night party with 51 in 43 balls, stroking 5 boundaries and a big six.
India puts points on the table, with credit to Dhoni the Indian skipper who pocketed the man of the match award for his match winning 101 not out.
BANGLADESH 296 for 6 in 50 overs
INDIA 297 for 4 in 47.3 overs
MS DHONI 101
VIRAT KHOLI 91
SURESH RAINA 51 not out
SYED RASEL 58 for 1
RUBEL HOSSAIN 60 for 1
SHAKIB AL HASSAN 45 for 1
Brave Banga sets India 296
So far there was no prize on offer as to what the captain winning the toss would opt for, if calling correct at the Shera Bangla stadium in Dakar.Shakib Al Hassan the Bangladesh captain proved to be different from many a mind set.
Shakib decided to bat and justified his decision by stating that the pitch is a belter, hence runs on the board and early inroads into Indian batting will do the trick. The pertinent point to ponder is, are we playing in normal conditions.
Bangladesh made just one change, Seyed Rasel, replaced Shafiul Islam, while India is on the park with the same side that lost to Sri Lanka a couple of days ago.
The Bangladeshi openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes stood tall as Tamim Iqbal gave the Indian bowlers a hiding with strokes all round the park. Indian seam bowlers, Nehera, Sreesanth and Zaheer were guilty of bowling at the left hander’s pads and on many an occasions bowling it short and wide for Tamim Iqbal to take toll.
Sreesanth was guilty of two no balls while Nehera too gave the Tigers a free hit. A frustrated Dhoni introduced spin in the 7th over, Harbajan found it relatively hard to grip the new ball. Add fuel to the fire, Harbajan also spilt a dolly off Kayes when the left hander was batting on 3.
The Indian wavered bowling cost them dearly as Tamim Iqbal plundered 60 runs in 42 balls with 10 fours and one six coming to an end, when he pulled a Sreesanths’ back of a length delivery straight to the safe hands of Gambir at mid wicket with India on 80 scored off eleven overs.
Mohamed Ashraful joined Imrul Kayes at the wickets and the pair was quite sedate in their approach with Dhoni introducing spin from both ends. The left hand right hand combination pursued by pushing the singles, but with Bangladesh settled somewhat on 148, Ashraful paid the penalty for attempting to cut a arm ball off Jadeja only hear the eerie sound of the timber. The dismissal of Ashraful for 29 was just the wicket India needed.
Bangladesh known to press panic buttons did so when Shakib Al Hassan the skipper ran himself out off a direct hit from Zaheer Khan with the hosts looking shaky on 156 for 3 wickets. Shakib will be disappointed that he missed out on a belter of a pitch and that too for a golden duck.
India clawed their way back when Imrul Kayes pulled ashis Nehera straight to Virat Kholi to give India her 4th wicket with Bangladesh on 188. Imrul made 70, with 5 hits to the ropes and a big six, in an innings that proved to be very important from a Bangladeshi perspective. The one criticism though is that the young man looks very suspect negotiating or improvising short deliveries.
Bangladesh known for throwing it away after being in command came to pass when young Musrafique Rahim cut a short delivery from Yuvraj Singh to the waiting palms of Ravindre Jadejah at short extra cover. Suddenly it’s bad reading for the tigers 206 for 5 Rahim back in the hut for 6.
Mahmudlla and Raqibul Hassan, batted with a bit more purpose, by pushing the score onto 237,by over number 45, Raqibul got impatient just before the batting power play, and was castled off a Harbajan off spinner for 32.
The first batting power play over bowled by Ravindre Jadejah cost India 12 runs, and Bangladesh with Mahamadulla at the wickets on 32 reached 254 for 6.
Zaheer Khan was given the task to bowl the second power play.Zaheer similar to his counterpart Jadejah gave 12 runs and the home team climbed to 266 for 6 wickets.
Harbajan was introduced for power play over number three. The off spinner was put away for 9 runs with Mahamadulla stil at the wickets on 37.Bangladesh 273 for 6.
Dhoni turned to his premier seam bowler ashis Nehera, who kept it somewhat in control by conceding only 8 runs given the match situation. Bangladesh 281 for 6, will they get the 300 run mark with one over to go.
Sreesanth was Dhonis’ choice for the final over.Bangladesh ended the late burst compliments of Mahmudullah who plundered Sreesanth for 15 runs, to take the home team to a defendable total of 296. Mahamadulla a hero, the young man scored 60 off 45 balls, he accounted for 8 boundaries.
India will be disappointed with their bowling and fielding effort. Dhoni used as many as six bowlers to stop the run flow in the first 20 overs. The fielding was not up to scratch; they bowled many as 17 wides and were guilty of giving the home team 4 free hits.
Bangladesh 296 for 6 wickets in 50 overs
Imrul l Kayes 70
Tamim Iqbal 60
Mahamadulla 60 not out.
Yuvraj Singh 1 for 33
Sreesanth 1 for 54
Nehera 1 for 44
RA Jadeja 1 for 45
Harbajan 1 for 56