India cruise past Bangladesh to set up final with Pakistan
BIRMINGHAM: India cruised into the final of the Champions Trophy after a nine-wicket victory over Bangladesh on Thursday, setting up a clash with old rivals Pakistan on Sunday.
A masterful unbeaten 123 from Rohit Sharma steered defending champions India to victory with nearly 10 overs to spare after they were set a target of 265 by Bangladesh, playing in their first semi-final of a major tournament.
Sharma shared a 178 run partnership with Virat Kohli, who ended unbeaten on 96 as India delivered a composed and classy batting display.
Bangladesh's bowling attack never managed to create any real pressure on what was a good batting track and they will also feel they failed to put up a big enough target.
An entertaining 123 run third wicket partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim put Bangladesh in a strong position but their middle order failed to fully capitalise on that foundation.
Bangladesh ended their 50 overs on 264 for seven after Tamim top scored with 70 and Mushfaqir made 61, but with a stronger middle and lower order contribution they would have expected to reach around 300.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed two early wickets for India - Soumya Sarkar dragging on in the first over and then Sabbir Rahman slashing a short ball to Ravindra Jadeja at backward point to leave Bangladesh at 36 for two.
Tamim was fortunate when he was bowled by Hardik Panya off a no-ball when he was on 17, but he took good advantage of the reprieve.
Together with Mushfiqur, Tamim took the game to India with some aggressive batting, taking calculated risks and scoring at a brisk pace as they brought up the century partnership off 104 balls with 10 fours and one six.
The breakthrough came after India had managed to slow down the run-rate and with the pressure on, Tamim lost his composure, bowling the part-time off-spin of Kedar Jadhav as he attempted a wild slog.
Shakib Al Hasan was superbly caught, off a bottom edge by MS Dhoni, stood up to spinner Ravindra Jadeja and then Jadhav struck again with the crucial wicket of Mushfiqur, whose mistimed shot was snaffled up by Virat Kohli at mid-wicket.
Bangladesh badly needed Mahmudullah, a century maker in the win over New Zealand last week, to regain the momentum but he was only able to make 21 off 25 balls before being bowled by a fine Jasprit Bumrah yorker.