If any proof was needed that the firestorm of controversy from home had not blown as far as Bangladesh, India provided it in resounding fashion.
M.S. Dhoni’s men advanced to the semifinals of the ICC World T20 rather imperiously at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium here on Friday, mauling a hapless Bangladesh by eight wickets.
Things played out just as they had before: a toss won, an opponent enfeebled, a target scaled down without breaking a sweat. Amit Mishra and R. Ashwin were stars of the piece yet again, returning combined figures of five for 41 from their eight overs as the Bangladesh total never threatened to get out of hand.
India needed 139 to win, and matters were wrapped up with nine balls to spare.
Rohit Sharma scored another half-century, as did Virat Kohli, whose appetite for runs continues to astound. Only Shikhar Dhawan failed once more, as India struggled early in the chase.
Six runs were made in the first two overs before Dhawan dragged Al-Amin Hossain onto the stumps. Rohit warmed to the task soon, pulling Al-Amin far back into the stands over square-leg.
Shakib Al Hasan was belted twice to the fence as the crowd’s early enthusiasm wilted. Rohit could have been out on 34, but Anamul Haque and Sohag Gazi collided to drop a skier. Kohli was no slouch either. Al-Amin was sent over long-off while Gazi was treated with much the same regard. The partnership for the second wicket realised a 100 runs in 12.3 overs before Rohit was out for 56. kDhoni walked in, evidently for some time in the middle for his batsmen have been giving him none, and saw India home, sealing victory with a six for good measure.
Earlier, only Anamul, at the top of the innings, and Mahmudullah, towards the close, made serious contributions as Bangladesh disappointed a sell-out Friday crowd. It had begun well, though, as the openers Tamim Iqbal and Anamul took 13 off the opening over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
But that was largely as good as it got. Tamim, was consumed by a sharp off-break from Ashwin, Suresh Raina holding a neat catch at first slip. Shamsur Rahman, one of two changes to the side, perished first ball, picking out the fielder at deep square-leg fielder with a sweep shot.
Shakib lasted one delivery longer than his colleague, before edging Bhuvneshwar onto the stumps. From 21 for three, there was a bit of a recovery. Anamul, arguably the most gifted stroke-maker to come out of Bangladesh in recent times, would not sit quietly. Ashwin was driven to the extra cover boundary while Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja were smashed beyond the ropes.