Asia Cup 2014 Results: Batman Kohli and Robin Rahane Ease India Past Bangladesh
By Deepak Vikraman | February 27, 2014 3:03 AM EST
Virat Kohli bats, Virat Kohli hits boundaries, Virat Kohli scores a century, India win - pretty simple really.
In another batting master class from the phenom, Captain Kohli en route to his incredible 19th hundred, drove, pulled, flicked and punished Bangladesh with venom only available to the right-hander, to take India to a comfortable six-wicket victory over the home side in the Asia Cup 2014 in Fatullah.
Ajinkya Rahane was Batman Kohli's Robin, plugging up all the remaining holes at the opposite end, with the two putting on 213 runs from 32.5 overs - a record against Bangladesh -- as India eased to the target of 280 set by the home team with one over to spare, and with it getting a measure of revenge to the loss suffered by the Men in Blue in the previous edition of the continental tournament in 2012.
It was not all hunky dory for India, though, as Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, who would have relished at the prospect of batting in sub-continental conditions after their travails abroad, found it difficult to get any kind of timing on the slower than a snail wicket.
Both batsmen kept looking at each other in frustration after one mistimed shot after another as Bangladesh kept a tight leash on things in the first seven overs, with India managing just 18 runs.
Dhawan, slowly but surely, started picking up the boundaries, with the left-hander also lucky not to be walking back to the pavilion, after being bowled by Rubel Hossain off a free hit.
India crept to 50 in the 11th over, before Dhawan (28, 44b, 5x4), after surviving a couple of close lbw appeals from Abdur Razzak, refused to learn from his mistakes, going for an ill-advised sweep shot and getting caught in front of the stumps off the left-arm spinner, who bowled quite well for Bangladesh, finishing with figures of 10-0-55-1.
Sharma (21, 29b, 1x4, 1x6) followed suit in the next over, as Ziaur Rahman found the yawning gap between bat and pad to castle the right-hander.
That meant the onus was on Kohli to take India home in another big chase, with the right-hander needing an able support act at the other end. That came in the form of Ajinkya Rahane, who played a typically capable innings, allowing Kohli to strut his stuff, while killing Bangladesh softly at the other end.
The duo came together with India needing 226 from 37.1 overs, and neither looked even remotely uncomfortable or daunted by the task at hand. Kohli (136, 122b, 16x4, 2x6) had the so-what's-new-I've-done-this-many-times-and-I-will-do-it-again look, while Rahane (73, 83b, 7x4, 1x6) seemed determined to show he can cut it in ODI cricket as well.
Easy as pie, India picked the Bangladesh bowlers at will bringing the run rate down from near seven to a run-a-ball, before easing to victory, despite Kohli and Rahane's late departures, finishing on 280 for four in 49 overs.
Earlier, it was the Mushfiqur Rahim show, with Anamul Haque playing a brilliant support act as Bangladesh showed their more illustrious opponents a thing or two about ODI batting.
Anamul's opening partner Shamsur Rahman did not last too long in the middle, though, as Mohammad Shami (four for 50), yet again the best bowler in a blue shirt, fell in the sixth over, top-edging while trying to turn the ball into the leg side, with the bowler completing a catch and in the process also damaging his knee a little following a clash with Ambati Rayudu as both went for the catch.
Mominul Haque came in and took charge of the Bangladesh batting, scoring a couple of nice-looking boundaries. But then with Bangladesh, the story is always the same - a lot of talent, but not enough patience. The first ball from R Ashwin proved to be Mominul's downfall as left-hander came out of his crease only to take a whiff of air with the bat with the ball trickling to Dinesh Karthik - no MS Dhoni remember - to complete the stumping.
What followed was an outstanding alliance between Anamul and Rahim, with the two batsmen putting on 133 runs for the third wicket from 149 deliveries, and in the process breaking the highest ever partnership by Bangladesh against India, set previously by Tamim Iqbal and Jahurul Islam in 2012.
With the pitch easier than a Sunday morning, the two right-handers lent into the Indian bowling, with Varun Oh-man-I-don't-know-what-I-am-doing Aaron on the receiving end of the majority of the boundaries.
Aaron, with figures of 7.5-0-74-1, was the only Indian bowler to finish with an economy rate of above six, with the other bowlers doing reasonably well on the proverbial flat as a pancake wicket.
Both Anamul (77, 106b, 5x4, 3x6) and Rahim looked set to complete their respective hundreds, only for the former to fall at the hands of the batsman-bashing bowler of the day - Aaron.
The Bangladesh skipper (117, 113b, 7x4, 2x6), though, carried on admirably, completing his century thanks to a gift of an overthrow from the bowling side.
India, however, did pull things back a little in the final ten overs, giving away just 71 runs as Bangladesh finished on a we-should-be-able-to-chase-this-down-say-India score of 279 for nine.
With Kohli in the mood, and Rahane playing equally well, Bangladesh and their fans could only watch on in despair as India opened their Asia Cup campaign with a now-that's-how-you-start-a-tournament victory.
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