Indians stop Tigers’ race | 2017-06-16 |

Indians stop Tigers’ race

Indo-Pak grand finale on June 18

Adnan Hadi from Birmingham     15th June, 2017 11:01:49 printer

Indians stop Tigers’ race

Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal hits a boundary during their ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against India at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Thursday.-AFP Photo

Highflying India took a giant stride towards the ICC Champion Trophy 2017 grand finale by pounding Bangladesh by nine wickets in the second semi-final on Thursday.

The defending champions India will meet Pakistan in the final at the Oval on Sunday.

Opener Rohit Sharma played a whirlwind knock of 123 runs while skipper Virat Kohli provided the supporting role with an unbeaten breathtaking 78-ball 96 as India ended Bangladesh’s golden run of the tournament in front of a record 27,000 fans at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.

This is the third time Bangladesh saw defeat against the neighbouring nation in the ICC’s major tournaments in recent times, following encounters in World Cup 2015 — when defending champions India ended battling Bangladesh’s World Cup with a crushing 109-run win in the quarter-final.

Besides, last year, Bangladesh came agonisingly close to a remarkable win as India scraped past the spirited Bangladesh by 1 run in the ICC World T20 super-10 clash.Chasing a challenging 265 to win, Rohit and Kohli put on an incredible power-hitting show as they overhauled the target with 59 balls to spare. Rohit was adjudged man of the match for his extra ordinary batting.

Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan (46 off 34) were virtually unstoppable during their run chase.

The innings started with a bang and the pair raised India’s fifty inside the powerplay.

It was the skipper Mashrafe who finally gave Bangladesh the breakthrough by removing Dhawan. Rohit, though, didn’t slow down and kept his foot on the accelerator as India surpassed the victory target comfortably.

Dhawan’s departure after a 34-ball 46 hardly affected the team’s rhythm and in company of Kohli (96) managed to cross the bridge in dominating fashion. The duo added a match-winning 178 runs for the second wicket.

The player of the match Rohit Sharma’s knock came off just 129 balls as he punished the bowlers with 15 fours and a six. He did not spare a single Bangladesh bowler as it rained boundaries when he was batting in full flow.

Earlier, riding on the half centuries by Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim and a cameo by skipper Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh set a 265-run target for India.

Dashing opener Tamim Iqbal (70 off 82) hit a classy half-century and Mushfiqur Rahim (61 off 85) played a cool-headed knock to guide Bangladesh to 264 for seven after being put into bat but their effort proved little.

Bangladesh lost their two wickets at the very beginning of the game. Later, Tamim guided Bangladesh by building a strong partnership of 123 runs with dependable batsman Mushfiq.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe scored 30 runs off 25 balls whereas Pacer Taskin Ahmed made 11 runs off 14 balls. They finished the innings unbeaten partnership of 35 runs for the Tigers.

Kedar Jadhav proved India’s surprise weapon with the ball as the title-holders restricted Bangladesh to 264 for seven.

The part-time off-spinner, who had taken just six wickets in his previous 18 one-day internationals, removed Bangladesh top-scorers Tamim (70) and Mushfiq (61).

It appeared a minor success for Bangladesh when Jadhav came on in a match where frontline off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s first seven overs cost 42 runs.

But India captain Virat Kohli’s move was rewarded as Bangladesh suffered a middle-order collapse.

It did not take long for India to make a breakthrough after Kohli won the toss and fielded under grey skies.

The very first over saw Soumya Sarkar fall for a second-ball duck when he played on attempting a booming drive off Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

But new batsman Sabbir Rahman cover-drove his first ball, from Jasprit Bumrah, for four. Sabbir hit four boundaries in his 19 but just as he was getting into top gear he cut Kumar straight to Ravindra Jadeja at point.

But from 46 for two, the experienced pair of Tamim and Mushfiq rebuilt the innings.

Tamim, bowled off a Hardik Pandya no-ball on 17, was in fine touch. The left-handed opener whipped Pandya over mid-wicket for six and his reverse-sweep four off left-arm spinner Jadeja saw him to a 62-ball fifty.

Tamim also struck three fours in as many balls off Ashwin - a cut, a sweep and a nudge past fine leg.

This was Tamim’s fourth fifty in his last five innings, but he gave his wicket away when bowled trying to sweep Jadhav. Mushfiqur again showed his class with the bat in a 61-ball fifty. But when, to his evident dismay, the wicket-keeper hit a Jadhab full toss to Kohli at mid-wicket, Bangladesh were 179 for five in the 36th over.

By this stage they had also lost Shakib Al Hasan, whose 114 and Bangladesh record stand of 224 with Mahmudullah (102 not out) had seen the Tigers recover from a top-order collapse to beat New Zealand last time out. Shakib (15) was well caught by wicket-keeper MS Dhoni after bottom-edging a cut off Jadeja.

Bumrah then struck twice in quick succession as he caught and bowled Mosaddek Hossain and yorked Mahmudullah (21) to reduce Bangladesh to 229 for seven off 45 overs.  But some late-order hitting from Bangladesh captain Mashrafe, whose 30 not-out included five fours, kept the Tigers in the game.