Mushfiqur’s century and Anamul’s innings go in vain for Bangladesh
For all the profusion of talent that Virat Kohli represents, much has been said about his temperament — especially when his credentials as future captain are considered. Kohli’s class has always been judged against his rebellious angst.
On Wednesday, though, the 25-year-old, like he has done so often lately, declared his penchant for a statesman-like role. The skipper’s 19th century, a scrumptiously hard-boiled response under stress, piloted India to a nerveless six-wicket victory, with an over to spare, against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup.
Earlier, Kohli’s counterpart, Mushfiqur Rahim, too, had manufactured a glitzy ton to power Bangladesh’s score to 279 for seven after being asked to bat. But success as a team would escape him.
As India’s openers commenced the pursuit, they would not have anticipated a searing spell from Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain. When Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were sent back, Kohli found a fine lieutenant in Ajinkya Rahane. Together, they evaded a tricky banana-peel, nonchalantly polishing off the runs.
There was some quality stroke-production — the dazzling effect was as much a result of execution of the shots as the seductive charm they exuded. Rahane fed off the pace, once coolly chipping the ball over third man for six. Kohli was wolfing down the bowling with those swaying pulls and the wristy leg-side whips.
There were the inside-out drives, too; Rahane’s was of a genteel, soft variety, Kohli’s a vicious flurry of arms and legs. They were repeated many times over during the course of their 213-run association.
Kohli’s celebration upon reaching his ton didn’t involve much anger — a kiss to the helmet and gritting of the teeth were all that could be seen. By the time he was dismissed, India required only 13 runs in 26 balls, a target that was duly accomplished.
In the afternoon, Bangladesh’s innings was never the sputtering car despite taking its time to start. Once the engine was cranked up, the purring was symphonic.
India evicted Shamsur Rahman when Mohammed Shami’s snarling short-ball was met with a twirled bat.
A regulation catch off a top edge nearly turned out to be tragicomic.
Both Shami and Ambati Rayudu failed to call and bumped into each other, but the former clung to the ball Thereafter, the Haque duo — Anamul and Mominul — displayed a glittering collection of drives.
The left-handed Mominul cracked two sleek ones through cover off Varun Aaron. Anamul was the gun-slinger, dashing out of the crease more than thrice for either a hoick or a slice over point.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, trading mostly in length deliveries, sent down a sharp bumper to Anamul. While an impulsive pull found the fine-leg fence the first time, a follow-up bouncer soared precariously. But Shami, at fine leg, failed to arrive in time; Anamul was only on 12 then. After Mominul was out, Mushfiqur joined Anamul and, like enthusiastic gold-diggers, they plundered runs.
Their 133-run partnership saw Mushfiqur indulge in staccato cuts and scything slogs over the cow-corner even as Anamul continued to rage down the wicket.
One thing that caught the eye was Ashwin’s bowling action that looked like a Sunil Narine impression. Although he never looked very threatening, along with Ravindra Jadeja, he offered control. But Kohli’s tactics — of not attacking with Bhuvneshwar and persisting with Aaron, and even Ambati Rayudu — in the middle stages remained questionable. Despite Anamul’s dismissal in the batting PowerPlay, Mushfiqur continued to hurtle away. But there was a minor scare when Aaron’s searing beamer struck Mushfiqur on the chest; he instantly went down writhing in pain. However, he eventually reached his hundred courtesy five overthrows.
Meanwhile, Mushfiqur, who injured his right shoulder while attempting to stop the ball in the 44th over, was taken to the hospital for a precautionary x-ray.
Bangladesh: Anamul Haque b Aaron 77 (106b, 5x4, 3x6), Shamsur Rahman c & b Shami 7 (12b, 1x4), Mominul Haque st. Karthik b Ashwin 23 (29b, 4x4), Mushfiqur Rahim c Rohit b Shami 117 (113b, 7x4, 2x6), Naeem Islam c Ashwin b Shami 14 (19b, 1x4), Nasir Hossain c Karthik b Shami 1 (6b), Ziaur Rahman c Aaron b Bhuvneshwar 18 (12b, 2x4, 1x6), Sohag Gazi (not out) 3 (4b), Mashrafe Mortaza (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (b-1, lb-3, w-12, nb-2): 18; Total (for seven wkts. in 50 overs): 279.
Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Shamsur), 2-49 (Mominul), 3-182 (Anamul), 4-231 (Naeem), 5-241 (Nasir), 6-270 (Ziaur), 7-276 (Mushfiqur).
India bowling: Bhuvneshwar 8-1-41-1, Shami 10-1-50-4, Aaron 7.5-0-74-1, Ashwin 10-1-50-1, Jadeja 10-0-37-0, Rayudu 3-0-17-0, Kohli 1.1-0-6-0.
India: Rohit Sharma b Ziaur 21 (29b, 1x4, 1x6), S. Dhawan lbw b Razzak 28 (44b, 5x4), V. Kohli b Rubel 136 (122b, 16x4, 2x6), A. Rahane c sub b Gazi 73 (83b, 7x4, 1x6), A. Rayudu (not out) 9 (15b),Dinesh Karthik (not out) 2 (2b); Extras (lb-1, w-9, nb-1): 11; Total (for four wkts. in 49 overs): 280.
Fall of wickets: 1-50 (Dhawan), 2-54 (Rohit), 3-267 (Kohli), 4-272 (Rahane).
Bangladesh bowling: Mortaza 9-1-44-0, Rubel 10-1-63-1, Razzak 10-0-55-1, Ziaur 5-0-20-1, Gazi 8-0-49-1, Mominul 2-0-13-0, Naeem 1-0-15-0, Nasir 4-0-20-0.