Virat Kohli shines again, bowlers recover to help India secure 5-run win vs BAN | Crickit
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Kohli shines again, bowlers recover in rain-hit match to help India secure 5-run win vs Bangladesh on DLS at T20 WC

Nov 02, 2022 10:03 PM IST

Opener’s run-out triggers Bangladesh implosion as India win to go to top of group 2.

All that edge-of-the-seat entertainment fed to you in the garb of the IPL was actually a precursor to a moment like this—when Arshdeep Singh is asked to defend 20 in six balls. Four big hits could have ended the game. In response, Arshdeep bowled four yorkers that went for four runs, missed one that was carved behind point for four and banged one short that swatted over deep square-leg for a six. The result will say Bangladesh basically missed out by one six. But India will know they got out of jail.

Team India players during the match against Bangladesh(AP)
Team India players during the match against Bangladesh(AP)

T20 cricket thrives on the barest of margins and so India will take these two points that took them to the top and table and kept them in contention for the T20 World Cup semi-finals. But this win was far from convincing. As long as Litton Das was swinging his bat around, India were walking on eggshells, watching the asking rate slip to under nine per over. Till rain interrupted the match and curtailed it to a 16-over affair.

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The equation—85 off nine overs—was gettable. Bangladesh had 10 wickets in hand, the licence to go berserk, a damp outfield that made the ball zip through it but made it difficult for the bowlers to grip it, and a set batter. But rain plays curious games with the wits and the body of the chaser. The mind tends to let its guard down, the adrenaline doesn’t pump right away and the muscles don’t limber up so quickly. Two balls into the modified chase, Das—batting on 60 off 27 balls—was run out. KL Rahul—after having made up for the no-show with a sweet fifty—took aim from midwicket to uproot the end Das was scampering to after a tight call for a second run from Najmul Hussain Shanto, leaving him livid.

Pressure and exposure are two terms flung around pretty liberally, often without understanding how exactly they can cloud thoughts. Shakib Al Hasan coming at the fall of the first wicket, despite having batted at No 4 till before this game, was an indication of the growing pressure. Before he could settle down though, Shanto was literally guilted into a wild slog off Mohammad Shami that Suryakumar Yadav caught at long-on. Cracks were appearing quickly. In came Arshdeep Singh—find of this year’s IPL—after Shakib had swatted and sliced Ravichandran Ashwin for consecutive fours in the 11th over.

Staring at an ask of 52 from 30 balls, new batter Afif Hossain tried to play across the line to Arshdeep but he had the presence of mind to pitch it shorter, leading to a top edge that Yadav again caught running in from the deep. Three balls later, Shakib speared the ball, sending it swirling in the Adelaide skies but Deepak Hooda placed himself under it and took a very well-judged catch. Inching towards breaking point, Bangladesh saw Hardik Pandya take the ball. That last over of the 2016 T20 World Cup game is an instant reference to Pandya’s calmness in such situations. Short just outside off or full, fast and dead straight, Pandya was bowling nothing in between. Yasir Ali fell to the bouncer, Mosaddek Hossain’s stumps were cleaned up by the full delivery. On 108/6, Bangladesh were quickly blowing out of steam.

“Most teams would get 52 off five overs if you have eight wickets in hand,” said Shakib at the press conference later. “The kind of batting we have, we should have chased it. Maybe we panicked. Maybe we tried to play too many shots. Maybe it happened because of a lack of experience. We don’t play too many close games. So sometimes, when we are in that situation we don’t know how to do it.”

Rohit Sharma, however, thrives in these situations. Treating the nine overs as a different subset of the match, he bowled Ashwin, Pandya and Mohammed Shami in the first three overs, gave another over to Ashwin before bowling out Arshdeep in tandem with Pandya. Axar Patel wasn’t given even an over. “With Bumrah not there, someone has to do it for us and take the responsibility,” said Sharma at the post-match presentation. “For such a young guy (Arshdeep) to come and do it is not easy. But we prepared him for it. The last nine months he has been doing it. There was a choice between Shami and him but we backed someone who did the job for us previously.”

None of this would have happened had Virat Kohli not shepherded India’s batting through a dicey period when Taskin Ahmed bowled four overs non-stop, conceding just 15 runs and beating the bat several times, before Mustafizur Rahman and Shoriful Islam began troubling India with their nifty left-arm seam. On the best pitch of the World Cup, India laboured their way to 37/1 but Bangladesh kickstarted their chase of 184 with 60/0 in the first six overs.

The biggest difference between the sides on the day were Kohli and KL Rahul. Sharma and Pandya walked into the short ball outside off-stump trap to be caught at point but Rahul and Kohli reined in their temptation to play as straight as possible. Rahul was particularly menacing when he carted Islam for 24 runs in the ninth over that suddenly accelerated India’s innings. He fell against the flow of the play but Kohli continued to play his brand of clean shots and a lot of running between the wickets to propel India to a total that proved to be just enough on the day.

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