India’s sub-par score hardly proves a challenge for Bangladesh
From inviting India to bat on a slow surface to reaching the target in style, Bangladesh stayed in command. Smart out-cricket, no dropped catches and the shift in gear when needed saw Bangladesh script a historic first T20 win over the host here on Sunday.
On the Ferozeshah Kotla pitch that offered slow and low bounce, Mushfiqur Rahim led the charge like he is expected to. Overall, the visiting top-order batsmen proved better equipped to deal with the challenges thrown at them and eventually, the punishing seven-wicket win was validation of their self-belief on Sunday evening.
Following this drubbing, second in succession after batting first, India needs to bring out its ‘A’ game in the remaining two outings. Otherwise, it will be hard to deny Bangladesh its first-ever series triumph over the host.
India’s sub-par 148 for six, that too, after the last two overs produced 30 runs — thanks to the finish-with-a-flourish from Washington Sundar and Krunal Pandya — never looked enough unless the bowlers dealt some serious blows early in the chase.
Once the Bangladesh top-order got over the fifth-ball loss of Liton Das, to cross the half-century mark, the target always looked gettable. Debutant opener Naim Sheikh, after a strokeful 26, holed out to Shikhar Dhawan to ignite India’s hopes in the eighth over. But with wickets in hand, Bangladesh looked assured in spite of gradually rising required run-rate.
With 50 needed off the last five overs, the experienced duo of Soumya Sarkar and Mushfiqur Rahim kept the scoreboard ticking by drying up the dot balls and sending the odd ball across the ropes.
When Sarkar was cleaned up by Khaleel Ahmed, Bangladesh needed 35 of 18 balls.
Almost immediately, India let go of its best chance of bouncing back. Mushfiqur was dropped by Krunal, who also let the ball roll over the midwicket ropes. Chahal was made to feel worse with skipper Mohammad Mahmud Ullah sending the last ball for a four.
Next over from Khaleel effectively sealed India’s fate. Mushfiqur carved out four successive boundaries to bring his team to the threshold of a historic win. Facing debutant Shivam Dube, Mahmud Ullah put the finishing touches with a six!
Earlier, the match opened with an action-filled over. Two boundaries from Rohit Sharma had the crowd on its feet before Shaiful Islam brought them down by winning a leg-before appeal. With him, the skipper also took away the DRS option.
For the statistically inclined, Rohit’s 99th T20 appearance took him past M. S. Dhoni’s 98 and placed him at the top of the India list. Further, Rohit second boundary made him the highest Indian run-getter in this shortest format, surpassing Virat Kohli’s 2450.
What hurt India the most was the way two struggling, local left-handers Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant failed to accelerate even after settling down. Bangladesh was happy to keep these two otherwise dangerous batsmen at run-a-ball.
Dhawan was run-out after Pant showed intentions of going for a second run but retreated. The opener failed to regain his ground at the striker’s end. Pant, too, did not last long as he holed out.
Shreyas Iyer was the only batsmen who got going but did not last long. The late flourish of Washingotn and Krunal also proved insufficient.