Off late, extra spice is evident in the contests between India and Bangladesh. This hostile environment can be attributed to an incident in the 2015 World Cup when the two sides met in the quarterfinal.
Many Bangladesh fans still swear that their side would have won the tie had it not been for the no-ball call by the square-leg umpire after Rohit Sharma played a high full toss into the hands of a fielder. Rohit added close to 50 runs to the team’s total after that, setting a target which Bangladesh failed to achieve.
On Wednesday, in the latest chapter in this evolving rivalry at the Asia Cup, Rohit was the man in focus again. This time, it was not the umpire in focus but a dropped catch by the home team’s stalwart Shakib Al Hasan that gave Rohit a lifeline while batting on 21.
The in-form opener made most of the opportunity, going on to score 83 off 55 balls to help India recover and post a solid 166 for four on a bowler-friendly wicket.
The total turned out to be too daunting for the hosts, who managed just 121/7, handing India a convincing 45-run win.
The Shere-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur was buzzing. Playing in front of a packed house, Bangladesh were upbeat after the toss fell in their favour. On a green wicket in overcast conditions and with four pacers in their ranks, skipper Mashrafe Mortaza promptly elected to bowl.
India, who were in a similar position earlier this month in the first game against Sri Lanka in Pune and lost, seemed to have learned nothing from that batting flop. The top-order disintegrated to make it 42 for three. Pacer Al Amin Hossain was the pick of the Bangladeshi bowlers, scalping three wickets.
Rohit was the only batsman who showed some resolve in producing a steady knock. However, he too seemed to have lost the plot as he slashed at a delivery outside off-stump straight to Shakib at point. Fortunately for India, Shakib floored the chance and saved India another embarrassment on a green wicket.
Rohit smacked the next two deliveries for four and six, making Bangladesh immediately rue the dropped catch. Other than the let off, Bangladesh’s lacklustre fielding further aided India’s escape as the home side could never build on the pressure that their bowlers had mounted.
Rohit was well supported by Hardik Pandya (31), who was sent ahead of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The duo helped take India’s score to past the 160-run mark.
Ashish Nehra (3/23) began work of defending the total as the bowlers stifled any hopes Bangladesh batsmen harboured of surpassing India’s target.
The win has helped restore balance to the recent rivalry between neighbours, which had titled in Bangladesh’s favour after India lost the bilateral ODI series here last year.