India start Asia Cup campaign with victory over Bangladesh
Chasing a total of 166 run set by Indian brigade, Bangladesh managed to reach 121/7 in 20 overs. Experienced Ashish Nehra kept troubling them with his accurate bowling as the veteran player ended up taking 3 wickets for 23 runs.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma struck a scintillating 83 off 55 balls under pressure to propel India to a challenging 166 for six.
His team sent into bat, Rohit built his innings to perfection amidst a top-order collapse, hitting seven fours and three sixes as the 25,000 strong partisan Bangladeshi fans were stunned into silence.
He was complemented well by young Hardik Pandya, who smashed a quickfire 18-ball 31, including a huge six off home team’s ‘wonder boy’ Mustafizur Rahaman, and four boundaries at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.
The Rohit-Pandya stand yielded 61 runs for the fifth wicket in only 4.3overs. Their 50 run stand came off just 17 balls. While India got into trouble at 52 for three after first 10 overs, the next half saw them score a whopping 114 runs, primarily due to Rohit, who enthralled one and all with his dazzling stroke play.
When he was finally out to brilliant catch in the deep taken by Soumya sarkar, India had not only recovered but were also on way to setting a competitive target. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni finished the innings with a pulled six off Al-Amin Hossain (3/37).
Rohit also added 55 runs for the fourth wicket with Yuvraj Singh after India were in trouble at 42 for three.
A free-flowing stroke player, Rohit curbed his natural game in the beginning, taking into account the nature of the pitch and the position that his team was in with the top three already in the confines of the dug-out. In fact, he scored his first 20 runs off 24 balls with India managing only 52 runs in the first 10 overs.
The turning point was the 11th over of the Indian innings bowled by Taskin Ahmed. On a personal score of 21, Rohit slashed hard at a Taskin delivery but Shakib al Hasan, at point, dropped the catch and the complexion of the game changed drastically.
Rohit took full advantage of the drop as the next three deliveries yielded 14 runs including two fours and a six. The first shot was bisected between point and third man, for the second one he used the bounce to slash it over deep point and the third was steered with Mustafizur at third man letting it slip between his legs.
There was no stopping Rohit as he played a perfect ‘Nataraja Shot’ patented by the legendary Kapil Dev, pulling the Bangladesh captain behind square leg for a boundary.
India: 166/6 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 83, Hardik Pandya 31; Al-Amin Hossain 3/37)
Bangladesh: 121/7 in 20 overs (Sabbir Rahman 44; Ashish Nehra 3/23).