Vineet Ramakrishnan/Zeenews Sports Bureau
Mirpur: The day had to be historic, and history was made not only by the Master but also by the hosts, Bangladesh. When the all elusive 100th international ton by Sachin Tendulkar arrived, many would have thought that the fate of the match is sealed. A target of 290 was a steep one; a combined effort from the hosts was the need of the hour. And they combined, first the openers, then the middle order trio of Nasir Hussain 54 (58b),Sakib Al Hasan 49 (31) and Mushfiqur Rahim 46 (25b) left the tentative Indian bowling in total disarray upstaging India by five wickets here at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur on Friday.
If Sachin Tendulkar had to wait more than a year for the milestone, Bangladesh ended the wait of defeating India which had gone over five years snatching a thriller at Mirpur. With a total of 290 to chase down batting second, Bangladesh had their work cut out. With Sachin Tendulkar spearheading the Indian innings with 137-ball 114 ably supported by Virat Kohli (66) and Raina (51) at the death overs, India would have been happy with the total.
India had a consistent run rate of over 5 run per over throughout their innings. Bangladesh on the other hand started off rather slowly and seemed to be digging a hole for themselves as they managed only 38 runs in the first 10 overs as compared to India 49. In the next 10 they scored 46 as opposed to India’s 48. With the fall of wickets from both the ends curtailed to a large extend, during overs 21-30 Bangladesh scored 51 and India 56. Next five India got 15 and the hosts 27. The powerplay overs further saw Bangladesh accumulating 50 runs and India, 34 runs. In the last 10, India went on to make 86 and Bangladesh got 85 and prevailed with just four balls remaining.
Clearly, the match took an interesting turn during the powerplay overs, and the person at the helm of affairs was the former captain Sakib Al Hasan (49 off 31 balls) , He milked 18 off one Ashok Dinda over during the powerplay and from there on, the leading all-rounder Sakib and the talented youngster Nasir Hussain (54 off 58) shifted their gears and later Mushfiqur Rahim’s classy yet aggressive approach saw them through.
Earlier, the base was set by a solid but rather slow partnership of 113 runs off 145 balls by Tamim Iqbal (70) and Jahurul Islam (53).
But, again amidst the milestone and some hefty hitting the bowlers were left a lot to desire. Praveen Kumar was the spearhead of the attack with Pathan and Dinda being the deputies. Though PK finished his quota of 10 overs with an economy of 5.60, his potent weapon of banana ball was non-existent and ineffective. Irfan Pathan, given a second lease of life crumbled under pressure bowling good only in patches. Dinda on the other hand disappointed and he too was the culprit of losing it all in the death overs bowling juicy full tosses. Dhoni might as well rethink his strategy of using part-timers in the middle overs after his band of tweakers returned with mediocre figures. Raina, Sharma and Jadeja’s combined 15 overs yielded 75 runs and just one wicket.
Earlier in the first innings, exactly one year and four days since he scored his 99th hundred against South Africa during a World Cup match in Nagpur, Tendulkar neatly tapped a delivery from left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan behind square leg in the 44th over of the Indian innings to complete his landmark century.
It took him 138 deliveries to reach the three-figure mark, probably one of his slowest ODI tons, but the relief was palpable more than excitement and happiness of having achieved what was unthinkable even a decade ago.
After completing his century, he however opened up hitting pacer Sahadat Hossain for back to back boundaries as his partner Suresh Raina sent the opposition bowlers on a leatherhunt in favourable conditions as he smashed a quickfire 51 off 38 balls with help of five fours and two sixes.
Tendulkar was finally out in the 47th over when he tried to hit Mashrafe Mortaza out of the ground only to edge it to Mushfiqur Rahim behind the stumps. It certainly wasn't the best of knocks which came with help of 12 boundaries and a six.
The pressure of reaching 100th hundred was evident as he took 36 deliveries after reaching 80 to his 100. There were times when he would try and go for quick singles only to be denied by the alert Bangaldeshi fielders who otherwise were pathetic in the outfield.