Revenge! India crush Bangladesh in WC opener
Mirpur: India started off their World Cup 2011 campaign with an emphatic 87-run win against co-hosts Bangladesh, avenging the loss of 2007 in a manner that was not just clinical, but sublime as well.
Bangladesh stuttered badly in their run-chase, losing half of the team at a time when the required run-rate climbed to 20 per over at the death. It was simply a case of big match temperament, something that the Indians possessed and the home team did not. The amassing of a high total helped the tournament favourites some good too, as they had the psychological edge not just above the day’s opponents, but to the overall competition as well.
This was possible after an important breakthrough was finally orchestrated by Harbhajan Singh, claiming Junaid Siddique at a score of 37 runs to bring down the second Bangladesh wicket. After that, it was just a matter of sticking to the game plan, letting the opposition succumb to the mounting pressure of chasing a mammoth total.
From there on, it was just a matter of sticking to the game plan of not giving away unnecessary runs or buckling under pressure- a feat that Team India has learnt well.
Speedster Munaf Patel drew first blood for India, claiming Imrul Kayes as he dragged the ball back to his stumps at a score of 34 runs off 29 deliveries.
Openers Imrul and Iqbal had started their run chase on a solid note, hitting boundaries with ease against a directionless Indian pace attack in the initial overs. The Bangladeshi run-wagon was never in a dismal state judging by the normal ODI standards, but the Himalayan total set-up by Dhoni’s men simply changed equations drastically.
The first five overs had yielded 51 runs, easing the pressure on the home team who were cheered wildly by the supporters. But that was meant to be the high point for the home supporters as the Indian outfit was in no mood to give away another upset in this World Cup.
Indian Innings – Delhi Boys Blast Bowlers
It was India at its batting best as Virender Sehwag (175) provided the fuel for a mammoth 370/4 at the end of the innings while Virat Kohli (100) provided the fire. Bangladesh bowlers were bludgeoned more than their wildest nightmares, being hit all over the park by the formidable Indian batting outfit.
Delhi boys had a blast on the crease as Gautam Gambhir was called in as a runner for the highest run getter of the venue, Virender Sehwag (he also became the highest scorer for India against Bangladesh and also surpassed his highest ODI total).
Fearless by nature, Sehwag’s form sent tremors down the Bangla camp when he brought up his fifty with a six. Continuing with the same approach, he kept on sending the home team’s fielders on a leather hunt.
The only blot of the innings was a terrible mix-up that saw both batsmen at one side of the turf that brought the end of Sachin Tendulkar’s innings after he dished out 28 runs from 29 balls in his vintage touch.
Gautam Gambhir was the second casualty of the day as he dragged the ball back into his stumps at a score of 39 runs.
In the initial ten overs, Abdur Razzak had managed to sneak a couple of tight ones to halt the Indian juggernaut as the world’s best opening duo of Sehwag and Tendulkar looked ominous right from the word go.
The duo raced the total past the 50-run mark in the ninth over, effectively rotating the strike as the spinners came in to action. (*This was the 16th fifty-run partnership between Sehwag and Sachin).
The victory has set the Indian ship sailing on familiar seas after they were coined tournament favourites by the fans, pundits and punters alike.