India simply too strong for Bangladesh in semi-final tussle

Unlike the first semi-final, the result and the manner of victory for India had nothing unexpected about them. But the gulf in the class of Team India and Bangladesh was simply too huge and on the back of a complete performance, India reached the Final of Champions Trophy 2017 with a nine-wicket win. The Bangladeshis, playing their first semi-final of a global tournament, began well with the bat and had India in a spot of bother at the halfway point in their innings. But they fell away in the second half, particularly after Tamim Iqbal was dismissed by Kedar Jadhav, and folded up for 264/7. With Rohit Sharma scoring an unbeaten 123 and Virat Kohli making his third half-century in the tournament, a 78-ball 96*, India cantered to an utterly dominant victory.

The perfect start

Chasing 265, India were provided a superb start by Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, whose sublime batting form made the Bangladeshi bowlers look extremely ordinary. Yes, Mortaza and co. bowled inconsistent lines and lengths with the new ball and at speeds of 130-135 KMPH, the in-form Indian openers were not one bit unsettled. Also, at this pace, even length deliveries were pulled and cut for boundaries square of the wicket.

Dhawan was easily the most attractive batsman. He struck the ball sweetly and was comfortable playing off the front and back-foot. He played far fewer deliveries than Rohit during the powerplay but still managed to outscore the Mumbai batsman. Whether the ball was full or short, Dhawan had ample time to play a stroke and even with seven fielders inside the ring, the Delhi left-hander was able to find the gaps or go over the infield and collect the boundaries.

The highlight of Dhawan’s innings was his hitting Taskin Ahmed for a couple of fours and a six, all against short deliveries and all square on the leg side, in the eighth over of the Indian innings. Taskin kept digging the ball in short and Dhawan kept responding with authoritative pull strokes. Given the form he has been in and the way he was striking the ball, the Bangladeshi bowlers didn’t look like they can dismiss Dhawan. And the left-hander self-destructed by trying to bludgeon a slower delivery from Mortaza and was caught at point. His 46 (7×4 and 1×6) off 34 balls is one of the better innings in the tournament.

Rohit was in his elements too early on and together with Dhawan, provided India a solid start with an opening partnership of 87.

The cruise to the target

On the evidence of this batting display, even a 300-plus total will still have been insufficient for Bangladesh. Dhawan had basically gotten himself out and thereafter, Virat Kohli and Rohit were not threatened at all by any of the Bangladeshi bowlers. These two Indian batsmen pretty much had a centre wicket practice session and provided a batting masterclass against a toothless Bangladeshi bowling attack.

Kohli, in particular, peppered the cover boundary, taunting the extra cover fielder by spanking the ball to his right and left on numerous occasions over the course of his innings. A whopping 59.37% (57) of Kohli’s 96* came through cover and mid-wicket, Kohli’s most favourite scoring areas. After struggling a touch for fluency in the first three innings, the Indian captain batted simply magnificently and dented the morale of the Bangladeshi bowlers and fielders with his strokeplay. Kohli hit the winning runs and took India to Sunday’s Final against Pakistan. Kohli has become the fastest batsman to reach 8000 ODI runs, taking just 175 innings to get to this milestone. 

Rohit was not as dominant as Kohli was in the 178-run second-wicket partnership, but the Mumbai batsman oozed class as well, particularly catching the eye with strokes square of the wicket on either side. India had gotten off to a great start and these two consolidated India’s position in the match with positive batting. Rohit reached his 11th ODI hundred and first in the Champions Trophy with a six off Mustafizur Rahman. Rohit was the player of the match for his 123* (129), an innings which was punctuated by 15 fours and one six.

Only Mortaza had an economy of less than 6 runs per over (3.62, to be precise), with the likes of Mustafizur (0/53 in 6 overs), Taskin Ahmed (0/49 in 7 overs) and Rubel Hossain (0/46 in 6 overs) haemorrhaging runs and being overly docile from the Indian batsmen’s perspective.

A frantic opening

The opening seven overs of this big semi-final had everything: boundaries, wickets, dot deliveries, and the bowlers and batsmen feeling the pressure of a big day. The Bangladeshi batsmen tried to stamp their authority and went a little hard early on at the Indian new-ball bowlers. Though their aggressive intent brought short-term rewards in the form of a flurry of fours, it cost them two vital wickets of Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman, who were undone by Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s ability to swing the ball and tactical astuteness.

Under dark skies and a consequently fresh pitch, Bhuvneshwar was able to find some seam movement. On the last delivery of the first over of this semi-final, the UP seamer got the ball to nip back in off the surface. Sarkar, despite facing just his second delivery, went for an expansive off drive and dragged the ball back onto his leg stump, off the inside edge.

At 1/1 after the first over, the way to go for the batsmen will have been to play in a way that you’re not in danger of losing another wicket. Sabbir, though, came out with the intent of scoring quick runs. The right-hander drove the first ball he faced, through the covers for the first four of the innings. We were in for an action-packed period of five overs from here on.

Sabbir charged Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah and hit them for a couple of fours over the infield on the off-side in the next two overs. Sabbir, though, became reckless once the Indian fast bowlers strung together a few dot deliveries. The failure to be patient and not want to build an innings was the undoing of Sabbir, who hit a well-controlled knuckle delivery from Bhuvneshwar to Ravindra Jadeja at point, falling for 19 (21).

A splendid rebuilding job

Bangladesh got exactly what they wanted after being reduced to 31/2. Mushfiqur Rahim joined Tamim Iqbal in the middle and together they rebuilt the innings which was in slight trouble.

The left-handed opener struggled for timing for a considerable length of time and had accumulated just 17 runs off his first 37 balls when a no-ball in the 13th over from Hardik Pandya gave him a second life. Rahim had walked in and played a couple of delightful strokes, but this partnership did not threaten the Men in Blue during its embryonic stage. The first powerplay produced just 46 runs and India will have been extremely satisfied.

But after Pandya gifted Iqbal a second life—the left-hander had dragged an off-cutter from Pandya onto the stumps off the inside edge—he found his groove and transformed his and the Bangladeshi innings. Once Iqbal found his rhythm, Rahim played pretty much a second fiddle without harming the flow of the innings. Iqbal and Rahim found the boundary with ease and at regular intervals, and most importantly, scored pretty much off every ball.

Iqbal stepped out and disdainfully hit Pandya over mid-wicket for a six in the 17th over and Virat Kohli and India found themselves in real strife. The pitch offered very little after the quicks had found some life in it early on. And unlike against South Africa, the two frontline spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, failed to even provide control. Their fast, orthodox off spinners made the life of the Bangladeshi batsmen easier.

Runs were being scored at more than a run a ball every over and India just couldn’t stem the run flow. Overs 21-27 (7 overs) produced 47 runs, with both these senior batsmen having crossed their half-centuries and the innings 150 also having been brought up. The Bangla Tigers reached 152/2 in 27 overs and the Iqbal-Rahim partnership spelt ominous signs for India. The partnership was worth 123 runs when Kedar Jadhav provided the vital breakthrough of Iqbal, who missed a straight delivery and was bowled for 70 (82).

The strong reply

Having been challenged by the inferior team, the defending champions responded superbly, though you cannot help but feel that Bangladesh showed a bit of naivety after Iqbal was dismissed.

The momentum of the innings had been broken, but given how the pitch was behaving and with a settled Rahim in the middle, the Bangla Tigers failed to show urgency and went into a shell. In doing so, they relinquished the advantage they had worked hard to gain. The new batsman Shakib Al Hasan understandably played a few dot deliveries at the start of his innings but runs stopped coming from both ends.

Bangladesh, who were 154/3 at the end of 28 overs, scored only 53 runs in the next 12 overs and lost two more wickets, meaning they went into the final powerplay with 207/5. The fourth fifty of the innings came off 80 balls and India had clawed their way back into the contest. Rahim and Shakib didn’t build another partnership to back up the previous one and were also dismissed in back-to-back overs (34.2 and 35.2).

Mashrafe Mortaza walked in at No. 8 and made a 25-ball 30* to take his team to 264/7. Mahmudullah (21) and Mosaddek Hossain (15) put together 34 runs for the sixth wicket, ensuring their team at least posted a total above 250.

Kedar Jadhav’s spell of 2/22 in 6 overs was the game-changer, with the Maharashtra batsman providing India everything the two frontline spinners couldn’t. The over in which he dismissed Iqbal, Jadhav had bowled ordinarily and was lucky to have gone for just one run off the first five deliveries. But he got the wicket of the Bangladeshi opener on the sixth delivery of the 28th over and from there on provided India the control.

Bumrah excelled at the death once again and with his dismissing the dangerous pair of Mahmudullah and Mosaddek, India were able to limit the damage in the final 10 overs. Having scored 142 runs in the first 25 overs, Bangladesh managed only 122 runs in the second half of their innings and will have been disappointed with this return.

CT 2017 semi-final 2 scorecard, Bangladesh vs India

Playing XIs

Bangladesh: 1. Mashrafe Mortaza (c), 2. Tamim Iqbal, 3. Soumya Sarkar, 4. Sabbir Rahman, 5. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6. Shakib Al Hasan, 7. Mahmudullah, 8. Mosaddek Hossain, 9. Taskin Ahmed, 10. Rubel Hossain, and 11. Mustafizur Rahman

India: 1. Virat Kohli (c), 2. Rohit Sharma, 3. Shikhar Dhawan, 4. Yuvraj Singh, 5. MS Dhoni (wk), 6. Kedar Jadhav, 7. Hardik Pandya, 8. Ravindra Jadeja, 9. Ravichandran Ashwin, 10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and 11. Jasprit Bumrah

Scores

Bangladesh 264/7 (Iqbal 70 and Mushfiqur 61; Jadhav 2/22 and Bumrah 2/40)
India 265/1 (Rohit 123*, Kohli 96* and Dhawan 46; Mortaza 1/29)

Bangladesh innings (toss: India, who chose to bowl first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Tamim Iqbal bowled Jadhav 70 (82) 7 1 85.36
Soumya Sarkar bowled Bhuvneshwar 0 (2) 0 0 0.00
Sabbir Rahman caught Jadeja, bowled Bhuvneshwar 19 (21) 4 0 90.47
Mushfiqur Rahim caught Kohli, bowled Jadhav 61 (85) 4 0 71.76
Shakib Al Hasan caught Dhoni, bowled Jadeja 15 (23) 1 0 65.21
Mahmudullah bowled Bumrah 21 (25) 2 0 84.00
Mosaddek Hossain caught and bowled Bumrah 15 (26) 3 0 57.69
Mashrafe Mortaza not out 30 (25) 5 0 120.00
Taskin Ahmed not out 10 (14) 1 0 71.42
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Rubel Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman
Extras:  23 (5 penalties, 2 no-balls, 7 wides, and 9 leg byes)
Bangladesh’s total: 264/7 in 50 overs, at 5.28 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 1/1 (Sarkar, 0.6), 31/2 (Rahman, 6.5), 154/3 (Iqbal, 27.6), 177/4 (Shakib, 34.2), 179/5 (Rahim, 35.2), 218/6 (Mosaddek, 42.3), and 229/7 (Mahmudullah, 44.6)
India bowling
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken  Economy rate
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10 1 53 2 5.30
Jasprit Bumrah 10 1 39 2 3.90
Ravichandran Ashwin 10 0 54 0 5.40
Hardik Pandya 4 0 34 0 8.50
Ravindra Jadeja 10 0 48 1 4.80
Kedar Jadhav 6 0 22 2 3.67
Indian innings (target: 265 in 50 overs, at 5.30 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Rohit Sharma not out 123 (129) 15 1 95.34
Shikhar Dhawan caught Mosaddek, bowled Mortaza 46 (34) 7 1 135.29
Virat Kohli not out 96 (78) 13 0 123.07
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Jasprit Bumrah
Extras: 0
India’s total: 265/1 in 40.1 overs, at 6.59 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 87/1 (Dhawan, 14.4)
Bangladesh bowling
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken  Economy rate
Mashrafe Mortaza 8 0 29 1 3.62
Mustafizur Rahman 6 0 53 0 8.83
Taskin Ahmed 7 0 49 0 7.00
Rubel Hossain 6 0 46 0 7.66
Shakib Al Hasan 9 0 54 0 6.00
Mosaddek Hossain 2 0 13 0 6.50
Mahmudullah 1 0 10 0 10.00
Sabbir Rahman 1.1 0 11 0 9.42

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