MAY 28, 2019
Brief Scorecard: India 359 for 7 (Dhoni 113, Rahul 108, Shakib 2-58) beat Bangladesh 264 (Mushfiqur 90, Liton 73, Kuldeep 3-47) by 95 runs
Kuldeep Yadav and Virat Kohli celebrate a wicket. – AP
CARDIFF – India’s World Cup campaign had gotten off to a poor start when they were handed a 6-wicket thrashing by New Zealand in their first ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 warm-up match on Saturday. It seemed their batsmen were still in the IPL hangover as they failed to put up a fight against a quality Black Caps pace attack in overcast conditions.
Concerns were raised after the ordinary batting performance in Bristol and the talk over the No. 4 spot continued with the failure of KL Rahul in the absence of Vijay Shankar who was earmarked for the role due to an injury concern.
However, India, it is safe to say, have proved all the doubters wrong with an emphatic performance against Bangladesh in their 2nd and final warm-up match in Cardiff on Tuesday. The dominance with both the bat and the ball should give the fans and, more importantly, the dressing a lot of confidence ahead of India’s World Cup 2019 opener against New Zealand, scheduled for June 5.
Bangladesh won the toss and sent India in to bat and Virat Kohli’s men got off to a worst possible start in overcast conditions as they lost Shikhar Dhawan for 1 as early as the second over. Rohit Sharma also suffered a second successive batting failure as he was dismissed for 19.
Rahul seals No. 4 spot?
However, KL Rahul who got another opportunity to bat at No. 4 stepped up and delivered as he hit a classy 108 (99 balls). Rahul seems to have sealed his spot at the much-talked-about batting position which has been a cause of concern for India over the years.
Rahul stitched a handy 33-run stand with captain Virat Kohli (47) who looked in good touch before he was castled by a yorker from medium pacer Mohammad Saifuddin.
Rahul then joined hands with MS Dhoni who showed glimpses of his vintage self. Dhoni showed no respect to the Bangladesh bowling attack as he was severe against them right from the word go.
Dhoni shows glimpses of vintage self
Dhoni launched into Bangladesh spinners Mehidy Hasan and Mosaddek Hossain as he hit sixes at will against the two offies. Dhoni brought up his hundred in just 73 balls and finished with 113 in just 78 balls.
Dhoni had hit 7 sixes and 8 boundaries and stitched a 164-run stand for the 5th wicket which in the end proved to be a match-winning stand.
Rahul, on the other hand, showcased a lot of maturity as he switched gears whenever needed. While he stepped on the gas when MS Dhoni had just walked in, he was happy to play second fiddle when the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman was going big in the middle overs.
Hardik Pandya then played a handy cameo, smashing 21 from just 11 balls as India posted a mammoth total of 359.
In reply, Bangladesh were jolted early by Jasprit Bumrah’s double strike in the 10th over. The India pacer came up with a perfect yorker to remove danger man Shakib Al Hasan for nought and shift the balance in favour of India early in their defence of 360.
However, opener Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahman added 120 runs for the third wicket. The duo kept India spinners and first-change pacers at bay but not for long as Yuzvendra Chahal triggered a Bangladesh collapse when he removed Litton Das for 73 in the 32nd over.
Das tried to come down the track and hit Chahal over his head but the sun was shining bright and the pitch offered a bit of turn as the Bangladesh opener was beaten by spin and eventually stumped by MS Dhoni.
Bangladesh lost 6 wickets for 47 runs as they went from being 169 for 2 to 216 for 8.
Kuldeep Yadav seemed to have found his mojo back after a horror run in Indian Premier League 2019. The left-arm wrist-spinner picked up the big wicket of Mushfiqur Rahim for 90 and ran through the lower-middle order.
Kuldeep was smiling in delight as he picked up three wickets, much to the relief of the dressing room.
Bangladesh were restricted to 264 in their chase of 360. India finished their dress rehearsal for the biggest cricket tournament of the year on a high, having found answers to most of the questions that had been nagging them in the lead-up to the quadrennial event.
Courtesy: India Today