Rohit and Sundar carry India into final
Powered for the first time in the tournament by Rohit Sharma’s runs, India bided their time, kept wickets in hand, and blasted 79 off six overs towards the end to make 176 for 3 – a score that proved 17 runs beyond Bangladesh, despite another fifty from Mushfiqur Rahim.
Batting in partnership with Rohit, Suresh Raina also contributed a vital 47 off 30 balls, their second-wicket association running for 102 runs. On the slowest pitch of the tournament so far, India’s bowlers mounted a proficient defence; Washington Sundar dismissed the Bangladesh openers inside the Powerplay, Yuzvendra Chapel delivered another probing spell, and the seamers largely proved difficult to put away, their full array of cutters, knuckle balls and slower ones on display.
This being India’s third win, they are now in Sunday’s final. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will play a virtual semi-final on Friday, having won only one game apiece so far.
The pace of the India innings adhered roughly to Rohit’s own rate of scoring. At the end of the Powerplay, both he and the team had made a smart start without quite being explosive; he was on 26 off 23, and the total was at 49 for no loss. He coasted through the middle overs completing his 13th T20I fifty off the 42nd delivery he faced, and then came the explosion.
In the six overs between 14th and 19th, India scored almost 14 per over, and Rohit reaped 37 off 15 balls. He took an especial liking to the bowling of Abu Hider, whose final over disappeared for 21 runs. Even Mustafizur Rahman was not spared. Perhaps the most memorable shot of the innings was Rohit’s slog sweep off him in the 17th over, which sent the ball high over the square leg boundary.
Having arrived with the score at 70 for 1 in the 10th over, Raina had been tested with the shorter delivery again, but having survived that period, it had been he who kicked India’s innings into overdrive. He thumped Mehedi Hasan over cow corner in the 14th over, before clubbing him down the ground for four next ball. There was one top edge for four off Rubel Hossain, but otherwise Raina’s advance was clinical and calculated. He favored the leg side as usual. He was caught off the first ball of Rubel’s excellent final over, attempting a third six, again over deep midwicket. Earlier Shikhar Dhawan had made 35 off 27 balls.
Bangladesh may have been full of confidence following the chase of 215, but they never really had the measure of this target. They needed a bright start like they had had on Saturday, but got the opposite. Liton Das was stumped off Sundar in the second over, after the bowler fired the ball short and wide, having seen the batsman coming. Soumya Sarkar was bowled in Sundar’s next over, as he heaved unfruitfully at a straighter delivery. Tamim Iqbal, who had just begun to free his arms, was out soon after, also to Sundar, who slipped a delivery into leg stump, as Tamim shuffled to off and tried to shovel it over his shoulder. By the end of the Powerplay, Bangladesh were 48 for 3.
Had Mushfiqur had an equally capable partner, Bangladesh might have made a game of it. Mahmudullah holed out in the ninth over, trying to hit a six off Chahal. Sabbir Rahman stuck by Mushfiqur for 65 runs, but as he repeatedly failed to find the boundary, the required rate climbed. Mushfiqur cracked 16 runs off one Siraj over, but even he struggled for timing on this surface. In overs 14, 15 and 16, not a single boundary was hit. The asking rate climbed above 14. When Sabbir was dismissed with 20 balls to play, Bangladesh were out of specialist batsmen, and the game was sealed.
Mushfiqur completed his half century off the 42nd ball he faced, and ended up eventually on 72 not out off 55 balls.