Asia Cup: Rohit, Nehra script India's 45-run thrashing of Bangladesh
Rohit Sharma struck a scintillating 83 off 55 balls and Ashish Nehra claimed three wickets to propel India to a 45-run win over Bangladesh in the opening encounter of the Asia Cup Twenty20 tournament in Mirpur on Wednesday
Mirpur: Favourites India launched their campaign in style as they thrashed Bangladesh by 45 runs riding on a brilliant 83 by Rohit Sharma in the opening encounter of the Asia Cup T20 tournament here today.
Put into bat on a pacer-friendly wicket, India scored a challenging 166 for six with Rohit scoring his runs under pressure after they were reduced to 42 for three at one stage.
Hardik Pandya (31 off 18 balls) was the other notable contributor.
In reply, Bangladesh were never in the game being restricted to 121 for seven in the stipulated 20 overs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Ashish Nehra congratulated by his teammates after he claimed a Bangladesh wicket in the Asia Cup T20 tournament at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
Their decision to prepare a greenish wicket and unleash four pacers boomeranged badly as the home team's batsmen could neither handle spin or pace and were virtually decimated on the day.
Veteran Ashish Nehra (3/23) was literally unplayable with his variations as well as brisk pace that he generated. He was on a hat-trick in his final over.
Jasprit Bumrah (1/23 in 4 overs) also dealt an initial blow while Pandya (1/23 in 4 overs), Ravichhandran Ashwin (1/23 in 4 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (0/25 in 4 overs) maintained the pressure to indicate the real difference in quality between the two sides.
It was a welcome victory for India and their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Bangladesh soil after their disastrous ODI series loss, here last year.
Earlier, 'Man of the Match' Rohit struck a scintillating 83 off 55 balls under pressure to propel India to a challenging 166 for six against Bangladesh.
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.
India opener Rohit Sharma (L) acknowledges the crowd after reaching his half-century against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup T20 tournament at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
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 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 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.
Yuvraj also got some confidence as he played an on-drive off Mustafizur to collect a boundary. Rohit completed his 10th T20 International 50 off 42 balls with a single off Shakib Al Hasan.
But after the first big hit that Yuvraj tried, he holed out at the deep mid-wicket boundary off Shakib's bowling caught by Sarkar.
But Rohit continued to plunder runs as he stepped out to deposit Mashrafe over long-off for his second six followed by a pulled one bounce four and then a picture perfect cover drive.
Earlier, put into bat on a pacer-friendly wicket, India lost opener Shikhar Dhawan (2), Virat Kohli (8) and Suresh Raina (12) to be reduced to 42 for three before Rohit did the star turn.
While defending, Nehra got one to swing back to castle right-handed opener Mohammed Mithun (1), while Soumya Sarkar got one from Bumrah that kicked up a bit more kissing his gloves before Dhoni pouched on it gleefully. Bangladesh were 15 for two at that stage.
Imrul Kayes (14) was removed by Ashwin with Yuvraj Singh taking a good catch at deep fine leg. Bangladesh were then reduced to 51 for three in 10 overs. Once Shakib Al Hasan (3) was run-out after trying to steal a single, Bangladesh could never really recover.
Too many dot balls only added to the pressure as Dhoni kept the accurate Jadeja for the rear part of the Bangladesh innings. Once Shabbir Rahaman (44) was out, the local fans started leaving the stands.
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).
AMAZING STATS FROM THE GAME:
Rohit Sharma's strike rate after he was dropped by Shakib al Hasan in the 11th over was 229.62. He scored 62 in 27 balls after the drop.
Yuvraj Singh during his innings became the fourth Indian batsman to complete 1000 runs in T20Is. He joins an elite group that already has Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma.
India and Bangladesh have played three T20 internationals and all have been won by India. The first match saw India beat Bangladesh by 25 runs in 2009 World T20, the next saw India win by 8 wickets in the 2014 World T20. The third has now seen India win by 45 runs.