By Baidurjo Bhose
Birmingham, July 2 (IANS) The old adage goes that morning shows the day and that was exactly how the Indian innings unfolded against Bangladesh at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Tuesday as the Men in Blue rode on a brilliant 104 from Rohit Sharma – his fourth century in this edition of the showpiece event – to post 314/9 in their 50 overs. Not to forget the brilliant comeback from Mustafizur Rahman as he finished with a fifer.
Earlier, with skipper Virat Kohli winning the toss and batting first on the same wicket that was used in the England-India game on Sunday, it was all about starting well for the Indian openers and the duo of Rohit and K.L. Rahul did just that as they took the attack to the Bangladesh bowlers from the word go.
In fact, the otherwise cautious Rohit made his intention known in the first over itself as he hit Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza for a six. And with Tamim Iqbal dropping him on 9, it was just the kind of leeway the opener needed to shift gears and deal only in boundaries.
Rahul, on the other hand, was happy to mix caution with aggression as the duo finished the first powerplay on 69/0. The Bangla bowlers wore a confused look as they were clearly short of ideas. Not just the bad balls, but even the good deliveries were sent to the boundary as Rohit and Rahul looked like they were keen to break the backbone of the Bangladesh bowling attack.
With the Indians looking to up the ante, Mortaza finally turned to Soumya Sarkar in the 30th over and the part-time bowler broke the 180-run partnership, the highest in this edition of the World Cup, as he sent back Rohit, moments after he reached his 26th ODI century.
Rahul (77) followed back three overs later as Rubel Hossain got him to cut one that was too close to the body and Mushfiqur Rahim picked up a smart catch behind the wicket. The score read 195/2 as Rishabh Pant joined Kohli in the middle.
But Kohli looked slightly jittery from the word go and wasn’t his usual fluent self even though he did hit some of his vintage flicks and drives. And it was the 39th over when Bangladesh came right back into the game as Mustafizur first sent back Kohli (26) and then dismissed Hardik Pandya (0) as the scoreboard suddenly went from 237/2 to 237/4.
At the end of the 40th over, the score read 251/4 as Pant and M.S. Dhoni looked to consolidate and also keep up the momentum.
Pant (48) was dismissed in the 45th over as an attempted sweep landed in the hands of Mossadek Hossain who held on after some juggling. Dhoni did try his bit at the end as he hit a 33-ball 35, but the Bangla bowlers came back strongly as they picked 5 wickets in the last 10 overs as India managed to score just 63 runs.
Brief Scores: India 314/9 (Rohit 104, Rahul 77; Mustafizur 5/59)
(Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at [email protected])