SEPTEMBER 21, 2018
Brief Scorecard: India 174 for 3 (Rohit 83*, Dhawan 40) beat Bangladesh 173 (Mehidy 42, Jadeja 4-29, Bhuvneshwar 3-33) by seven wickets
DUBAI, UAE – When Ravindra Jadeja made a swashbuckling half-century against England in the fifth Test at The Oval, he dusted off his bat – it had been a while since he played international cricket – and swirled it around like his Rajputana sword. In his first ODI since July 2017, Jadeja, flown into the UAE in as a like-for-like replacement for Axar Patel, shook off the rust with the ball and shook up the heart of the Bangladesh batting line-up. He claimed 10-0-29-4, including the key wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim, to pin Bangladesh down to 173 and fashion India’s thumping win in their Super Four clash in Dubai.
Rohit Sharma’s unbeaten 83 off 104 balls – his second successive fifty – ensured his side handed Bangladesh their second defeat in two days.
Jadeja had been introduced into the attack in the 10th over, after Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah had taken out openers Liton Das and Nazmul Hossain Shanto. Shakib welcomed him back to ODI cricket with back-to-back boundaries: a violent slap through the covers followed by a full-blooded sweep behind square on the leg side. MS Dhoni then asked the captain Rohit to post Shikhar Dhawan at backward square leg. Jadeja pushed the next one through wider outside off, asking Shakib to sweep again. The batsman did, and was promptly caught.
Questions about Jadeja’s bite in white-ball cricket had been hanging in the air, especially following the emergence of wristspinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. There were even questions about his role at Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2018. He bowled only 41 overs in 16 games – and didn’t bowl at all in two matches. Also, he hadn’t been part of India’s ODI plans in Sri Lanka, South Africa and England and at home against Australia, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka.
But Jadeja shrugged them all aside and showed glimpses of his best, when he removed Mushfiqur and Mohammad Mithun – Bangladesh’s match-winners in the tournament opener – in successive overs on a fairly cracked surface in Dubai. He first trapped Mithun with a 101kph arm ball that fizzed in and struck the pad before the batsman could respond properly. He then kept attacking the stumps and dared Mushfiqur to play his favourite sweep from that constricting line. After slog-sweeping a couple to deep midwicket, he ventured a reverse-sweep and lobbed a catch to short third man. Mushfiqur slumped to his knees and Bangladesh to 65 for 5 at the end of the 18th over.
Chahal and Kuldeep kept threatening both the edges from the other end, offering Bangladesh no breathing space. Mahmudullah, the designated finisher, had to veer away from his usual job and work on rebuilding the innings with the less-experienced Mosaddek Hossain. They crawled their way to 36 in 14.5 overs before Bhuvneshwar returned and won an lbw appeal from umpire Gregory Brathwaite although Mahmudullah had inside-edged an inswinger onto his pad. The batsman called for a review, thinking Bangladesh had one, but Mithun had already used it up.
Three balls later, Jadeja dangled one up, got it to break away and bounce outside off, drawing a bottom-edge from a low-percentage slog-sweep from Mosaddek. The left-armer could not get a five-wicket haul, but reminded the selectors that his relentless accuracy and smart pace variations could fit into India’s World Cup plans too. This was his first ODI four-wicket haul since his 4 for 28 on an overcast evening in Cardiff in 2014.
Mehidy Hasan briefly raised Bangladesh’s hopes in a 66-run stand off 79 balls with his captain Mashrafe Mortaza, but it was all too late.
Dhawan and Rohit then provided India a breezy start, shaving 51 runs off the target in the Powerplay. Dhawan, in particular, was quite fluent, drilling anything that was remotely wide of off stump. The opening stand moved to 61 before he fell for 40 off 47 balls.
Ambati Rayudu laboured to 13 off 28 balls, but Rohit kept the scorecard ticking and brought up his fifty with a mighty six over midwicket off Shakib. After the two had plotted the dismissal of Shakib, Rohit and Dhoni combined again, this time to help apply the finishing touches to the game with a 64-run stand.