Following an easy 45-run win over Bangladesh for India in their Asia Cup opener, we take a look at the five key things that the men in blue got right
Rohit Sharma makes most of reprieve
The opening batsman whose knock had doused Bangladesh’s aspirations of reaching the 2015 World Cup quarterfinals returned to haunt the home side on Wednesday. Sharma made most of a reprieve while on 21, blazing his way to a fine 55-ball 83 that included seven fours and three sixes. With India struggling at 42 for three, it was Sharma’s effort that helped the side reach a competitive total of 166 on a green track.
Hardik Pandya’s promotion
The all-rounder has quickly risen in the Indian side as a valuable asset. With He has been turned out to be crucial with both bat and ball. On Wednesday, he was once again promoted up the batting order and played his part perfectly. The 22-year-old scored a quick fire 31 off 18 balls, supporting a settled Sharma who was running out of partners. Skipper MS Dhoni had promoted the youngster similarly during the recently concluded Sri Lanka series, where the southpaw had delivered despite the pressure situation.
Nehra’s fiery start
Pace spearhead Ashish Nehra bowled a tight line that allowed little room for the Bangladesh top-order to launch. With helpful conditions to back him, Nehra seemed in top form. The Delhi bowler scalped three wickets on the night to break the back of Bangladesh’s batting order. The 36-year-old has been in red hot form in the T20 format since his heroics in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year. After a low-key performance during India’s tour of Australia, Nehra had shown glimpses of his terrifying swing bowling against Sri Lanka. On Wednesday, he looked to have reached a few notches higher.
With a mini-collapse up the order, India looked doomed as Bangladesh’s bowlers made most of the helpful conditions. Other than Sharma’s resolute performance at one end, the batting order was looking sheepish. The skipper’s choice to elevate Hardik Pandya proved essential as the 22-year-old pushed for singles and connected the big shots, relieving the pressure off Sharma’s shoulders that gave him the freedom to launch in the latter overs. In bowling too Dhoni shuffled the bowlers perfectly, leaving Bangladesh little room to maneuver a successful chase.
Learning from past mistakes
India had faced a similar situation during their opening games against Sri Lanka in Pune earlier this month. Put in to bat on a green track, India’s batsmen had quickly perished as they played rash shots that brought little reward. On Wednesday, there seemed to be a resolve to not go for unnecessary, aggressive shots. While, the Bangladesh bowlers did bowl well initially, Sharma’s stoic approach combined by cooler heads down the order ensured India did not slide as they did in Pune.