Bangladesh romp home against lacklustre India
Shock, disbelief, anger and sorrow are some of the emotions that must be sweeping the nation after India's stunning five-wicket defeat to Bangladesh on Saturday. This defeat has also left India in real danger of not qualifying for the Super Eights. Something unthinkable before this match began.
The only thing that went right for Rahul Dravid in the morning was the toss but went downhill the moment he decided to bat first. The blue skies, the sun and the crowd were factors in India's favour. Unfortunately, Dravid thought the wicket too was favourable enough for his batsmen to have first go.
Here, he probably went wrong. He did not factor in the quality of the Bangladeshi pacemen and their stifling diet of left-arm spin in the middle overs, which left India's long and, some would say, distinguished batting in shambles.
And Dravid definitely would not have visualised the kind of attacking batting that came from Bangladesh, certainly not from a 17-year-old kid called Tamim Iqbal Khan. If there is a child prodigy here, it is Khan, who played some truly breathtaking shots to shake the Indian pace attack to its core.
He stepped out to Zaheer as if the bowler was a spinner and treated Munaf with equal disdain. His volcanic 51 in just 53 balls would take Bangladesh to the cusp of what is now one of the greatest upsets in the World Cup, reminiscent of their sensational win over Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup.
Despite his fall, India could not claw back as Saqibul Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim did not let the pressure get to them and, with a mixture of commonsense and adventurism, wore down the Indian attack and took their team to a richly deserved win. India did not have the skill and the will to win this match, something Bangladesh displayed in abundance.
The Indians were pathetic, even dropping two catches when they required an outstanding fielding effort. The carnival atmosphere outside the ground and enthusiastic crowds inside it were no consolation as India sent their supporters into shock minutes after the match began, with Sehwag and Uthappa falling in quick succession.
Mashrafe Mortaza is no ordinary pacer. He has the speed, the verve and the guts to attack the batsmen with short balls and the wicket here did have enough bounce to help him rattle his rivals.
All hell broke loose when Tendulkar was caught behind and became worse when Dravid was lbw to Md Rafique. More than a few here believed Bangladesh had it in them to give India a fight but were understandably, in a minority. As the drama unfolded, Bangladesh were being seen with new eyes.
Still, one man stood. Sourav Ganguly saw off the new ball with purposeful intent that symbolised great determination. And in partnership with the cool Yuvraj Singh, he gave India hope. But just when the partnership was flowering, Yuvraj was gone and Ganguly followed soon. Wickets tumbled and that was the end of the Indian fightback.
With Bangladesh overtaking the Indian score with ease, India will now have to first beat Sri Lanka and than hope to sneak through to the Super Eights on basis of run-rate. It can't get worse than this.
Bangladesh: Shahriar Nafees, Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Habibul Bashar, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Rafique, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak, Syed Rasel.
India: R Dravid, SR Tendulkar, V Sehwag, AR Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, SC Ganguly, AB Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Z Khan, MM Patel.