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Asia Cup 2014: Virat Kohli`s ton scripts India`s victory over Bangladesh

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 22:01

Fatullah (Bangladesh): Skipper Virat Kohli smashed a magnificent 136 and shared a 213-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane (73) to lead India to a comfortable six-wicket win over hosts Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, here on Wednesday.

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Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim had also hit a sparkling ton to help the hosts post a challenging 279 for seven after being asked to take first strike.

While Rahim`s excellent knock went in vain, Kohli`s effort resulted in victory of his team, which has copped a lot of criticism of late for their pathetic performance overseas.

Courtesy Kohli`s 19th One-day hundred India recovered well after cheap dismissal of the openers Shikhar Dhawan (28) and Rohit Sharma (21) and overhauled the target with six balls to spare. It was India`s first win in the 2014 calender.

Rahane played a key role in India`s win as he and Kohli batted together for 33 overs before being separated. India were just 13 runs away from the win when Kohli was castled by pacer Rubel Hossain in the 46th over.

His 136-run knock came off 122 balls with 18 boundaries, including two sixes while Rahane took 83 balls for his innings which had seven fours and a six.

The only blot in Kohli`s innings was when on 35 he flicked uppishly at square leg but fielder Rubel could not reach out to the ball.

Rahim had led from the front with a gritty 113-ball 117 and that century came after he took a nasty hit on his ribs by a Varun Aaron beamer.

It was first century for Bangladesh against India since Alok Kapali`s hundred in an Asia Cup in June 2008. Young opener Anamul Haque (77) too impressed with a half-century in a 133-run third wicket partnership with his skipper.

The clinical win should also give India a big relief after their embarrassing defeats against New Zealand. They also avenged their last defeat to Bangladesh that cost them a final place in 2012 Asia Cup, also held here.

India were far from a good start to the chase with both the openers struggling. They survived some anxious moments as Bangladesh attacked both of them with close in fielders.

There were some loud appeals before they fell in successive overs. Dhawan was trapped by Abdur Razak while Sharma was bowled by Ziaur Rehman.

With 54/2 in the 13th over the scorecard did not read much different to what Bangladesh were at the same stage but it was Kohli and Rahane's partnership that made the difference.

Stand-in skipper Kohli had the usual air of calmness in his innings, something that imbibed confidence in a struggling but talented Rahane whose last five one-day innings read a sorry 2, 3, 3, 36, 7 in New Zealand.

Rahane broke the shackles with a six over third man in a well-executed shot to pacer Rubel Hossain. With Kohli dissecting the Bangladesh field with ease en route to his 47-ball half-century Rahane was not in a hurry as he paced his innings beautifully.

Kohli completed his century from 95 balls with a single to third man.

Earlier, Mushfiqur started his innings patiently with Animul going freely at the other end, but after the opener's dismissal, the skipper came into his own, hitting two sixes and seven fours.

The duo was involved in a brilliant 133-run third wicket stand that came after they were reduced to 49 for two the 13th over. Despite the big partnership, the lower order failed to fire.

Mohammad Shami was the pick of Indian bowlers, scalping 4/50 from his quota while it was a flop show for Aaron, who gave away 74 runs before being barred after 7.5 overs for two waist high deliveries, with one of them hitting Mushfiqur.

A disciplined Shami, who made the first breakthrough in the form of Shamsur Rahman (7) and Ashwin's first-ball wicket after a brilliant stumping by Karthik, reduced the hosts to 49/2 in the 13th over and for a moment it seemed like Bangladesh were playing away from home with the stadium not even half-filled.

But the young Anamul turned it around with his array of strokes in a sensible third-wicket partnership with Mushfiqur as the duo got past their individual half centuries.

Some wayward bowling by India's third pacer Aaron, who chose raw pace over disciplined length, did not help the side's cause as Anamul danced down the track to smash the bowler over long-on for two sixes.

Aaron was bowling well past the 140kph mark but his length was easily picked by up the promising 21-year-old. The listless India pacer conceded 39 runs from his first spell of five overs.

To add to the woes, Aaron was barred from bowling from the fifth ball of his eighth over after a second waist-high beamer that floored the Bangla skipper after hitting on his left side ribs.

Aaron leaked 74 from 7.5 overs in two spells, which incidentally was the second highest conceded by a bowler against Bangladesh after UAE'' Khurram Khan (78).

The only bright spot in Aaron's bowling is that he denied the impressive Anamul a second ODI century after the Bangla batsman played on.

The innings then belonged to Mushfiqur, who showed resolute spirit despite being hit badly to complete the milestone century for Bangladesh.

PTI
First Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 08:04

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