Bangladesh put in their best on Saturday, but unfortunately, even their best wasn't good enough for a marauding India. Alok Kapali, the Bangladesh all-rounder, played the innings of his life, smashing an outstanding century, but he would always remember it with a tinge of sadness, for his effort couldn't secure a win for his side. And the blame for spoiling what should have been his party rests on the shoulders of Suresh Raina (116) and Gautam Gambhir (90). The lefthanders joined hands to secure another thumping seven-wicket victory for India.
The Indian pursuit of a challenging 283, though, began on a wrong foot, with Robin Uthappa (2) falling early. Incidentally, Uthappa sneaked into the playing XI after buoyant India, following their fearsome demolition of their opponents in the first round, decided to rest in-form Virender Sehwag, Piyush Chawla and Praveen Kumar for the match. Sehwag, in particular, would have found it tough to hold himself back from walking in and stretching further the purple patch he has hit in ODIs after a long time.
Anyways, the fall of Rohit Sharma must have caused a slight concern in the Indian team, but that also must have been the last time they would have felt worried. Thereafter, the script for India went the way it has been going: Suresh Raina pairs up with a batsman and takes the side home without any fuss. Against Hong Kong, he built a match-winning partnership with captain Dhoni; he forged another match-winning partnership with Sehwag against Pakistan, and today he found Gambhir at the other end.
The fearless Gambhir had begun the onslaught much before Raina joined him. Gambhir, as he often does, was not afraid to pull, loft or step out, and blazed his way to a sizzling 90 though he benefited from a dropped catch at 56. The century that was there for the taking slipped from his grasp when his flick off Mashrafe found Reza.
There was, however, no stopping Suresh Raina. The left-hander seems incapable of putting a foot wrong these days. The cover drives, the lofted strokes flowed from his bat with as much ease as they had in the last two matches. The only blemish in the innings was when he was dropped on 16. The lapse reiterated the fact that if catches win matches, the dropped ones can cost matches.
Anyhow, Raina duly completed his century - his second in three matches - off just 93 balls, embellished with ten boundaries and three sixes. And he just couldn't stop jumping in joy.
Earlier, Kapali played an equally scintillating knock, smashing 115 runs, studded with ten boundaries and five sixes.
Coming in the middle of the innings, he resurrected Bangladesh innings and then cut loose after the 40th over, smashing 97 in the last 10 overs.
: Iqbal c Dhoni b Ishant 55, Nazimuddin c Ojha b RP 6, Ashraful c Ojha b Gony 20, Hasan b Ojha 25, Mushfiqur c Dhoni b Ojha 22, Kapali c Ojha b Gony 115, M’dullah not out 26, Reza not out 0
(lb-5, w-9) 14
(for 6 wkts; 50 overs) 283
Fall of wkts
: 1-19, 2-66, 3-102, 4-120, 5-169, 6-281
: RP 10-1-65-1, Gony 8-0-65-2, Ishant 10-0-48-1, Ojha 10-0-43-2, Y Pathan 10-0-44-0, Yuvraj 2-0-13-0
: Gambhir c Mortaza b Reza 90, Uthappa b Hossain 2, Rohit c Reza b Hossain 22, Raina not out 116, Yuvraj not out 36; Extras: (lb-11, w-7) 18
: (for 3 wkts, 43.2 overs) 284
Fall of wkts
: 1-14, 2-56, 3-195
: Mortaza 9-0-55-0, Hossain 9-0-60-2, Mahmudullah 6-0-35-0, Reza 6-0-38-1, Razzak 9.2-0-59-0, Kapali 4-0-26-0 .