India romped home to another victory in the second semi-final of the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy after beating Bangladesh on Thursday. The stage is all set for an electrifying final as India will now lock horns with Pakistan in the high-voltage final on Sunday. Defending champions India were tipped to be the tournament favourites alongside England prior to the start of the tournament and have fared well so far. After a hiccup against Sri Lanka, India bounced back with an emphatic performance against South Africa and then replicated it against Bangladesh as well.
The first semi-final saw Pakistan creating a massive upset as they knocked out the hosts England at Cardiff. Pakistan registered a convincing victory and punched above their weight against the heavyweights and chiseled their path into the final. When Bangladesh crossed swords with India in the second semi-final, both the teams stood an equal chance of emerging victorious as it was all about one good outing. Bangladesh were also in a comfortable position at one stage and threatened to take the game away from India but a crippling batting collapse in the middle didn’t let them achieve fruitful results.
India won the toss and elected to bowl first, Bangladesh batsmen had the challenge to overcome against the formidable Indian pacers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar did well in scalping Soumya Sarkar’s wicket in the very first over and put Bangladesh on the back foot. Sabbir Rahman walked out at three and showed some aggressive intent with the bat, which worked for a while. But, Bhuvneshwar Kumar turned out to be too good for him with his guile. At 31 for 2 inside seven overs, Bangladesh were certainly in a delicate situation and needed a big partnership.
In came Mushfiqur Rahim and along with Tamim Iqbal, they had a task in hand. At the crease were couple of Bangladesh’s most experienced batsmen and they didn’t disappoint. Initially, Tamim Iqbal was finding it difficult to time the ball but didn’t give his wicket away. Although he was lucky to have been bowled out off a no ball, but he did capitalise on the opportunity. The duo did extremely well in bidding their time at the crease and rotated the strike well to keep the scoreboard ticking.
The partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim started to bloom and was looking threatening. The duo were pouncing on the loose deliveries and India seemed to be running out of options. The 22nd oversaw Ravichandran Ashwin being hit for three consecutive boundaries, which is rare. By the end of 28th over, the duo had accounted for 123 runs between them in 127 deliveries. Both the batsmen were looking to accelerate and were doing a good job in building a solid platform for the lower middle-order to capitalise.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were not looking effective and Hardik Pandya was taken for runs. Virat Kohli was facing a problem with an extra bowler, though he had the option of Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav and Rohit Sharma, but decided to throw the ball to Kedar, who has done well with his part-time off-spin in the past. Both the batsmen were well set by now and Kohli played a gamble, which worked wonders for India. Kedar bowled a decent first over and then had the prized wicket of Tamim Iqbal in his second over.
In his second over, Kedar bowled a dot to Tamim, which was the fourth delivery of the over. Kedar then pitched the fifth delivery wide outside off and Tamim drove it to cover for no run. The next delivery was a bit straighter and Tamim went for a big sweep but missed the ball completely. Perhaps, the pressure of enduring two dot deliveries triggered him to go for a big stroke. Kedar provided India with a much-needed breakthrough and the partnership was finally broken. Few overs later, Shakib Al Hasan was undone by Ravindra Jadeja and Bangladesh were now in hot water.
Bangladesh were 179 for four when Kedar Jadhav got the better off well-set batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and the batting side were now in all sorts of trouble. After being 154 for 2 they were reduced to 179 for 5 in the 36th over. Losing three key batsmen in such a small span hurt them massively and ended their hopes of achieving a big total. And a lot of credit for inflicting such damage goes to Kedar, who bowled six overs and conceded just 22 runs along with two big wickets. India were astute enough to pounce on the opportunity created by Kedar and clawed back into the game by chipping wickets at regular intervals.
A total of 300 looked on the cards, when Tamim and Mushfiqur were batting, which could have been competitive. But losing both the set batsmen in such a small span turned out to be costly. After Tamim’s dismissal, Bangladesh needed Mushfiqur to bat through and get a big century, but it wasn’t to be. Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan were in good form after getting runs under pressure against New Zealand but failed on this occasion. Bangladesh fizzled out in the middle after being in a strong position at one stage.
Mashrafe Mortaza did well in garnering some crucial runs lower down the order and guided Bangladesh to 264. Indian batsmen came out hard and gunned down the total in 41st over with nine wickets to spare. They were outstanding with the bat and did extremely well in chasing down the target comprehensively.