KL Rahul (108) and MS Dhoni (113) compiled sparkling tons while the spinners ran through Bangladesh’s batting order to ensure India’s thumping 95-run victory in their second and final warm-up game ahead of the World Cup. Bangladesh could muster only 264 in pursuit of 360.
While chasing down a substantial target, Bangladesh needed a blazing start to mount a challenge. The duo of Liton Das (73) and Soumya Sarkar provided them a solid platform. The highlight of the 49-run stand was the scorching pull stroke essayed by Liton off India’s spearhead, Jasprit Bumrah. Just when the duo seemed set to stitch a sizeable stand, Bumrah forced Sarkar to edge one behind. Incidentally, the seamer had troubled the southpaw right through his opening spell with the away-going angle and finally his persistence was rewarded.
Bumrah then produced a ripper of a yorker to castle Shakib Al Hasan. The fast bowler snapped his wrist and got it to dip sharply on Shakib to shatter the timber. At that juncture, Mushfiqur Rahim (90) and Liton steadied Bangladesh’s innings with a diet of singles and twos and the occasional boundary. Once the pair put on a 50-run stand, they also looked to accelerate.
The partnership soon crossed the 100-run mark and for a while, it looked as if Bangladesh would put up a decent fight. However, Chahal broke the promising alliance by tempting Liton to skip down the track with a tossed up delivery only to be stumped. Liton’s wicket opened the floodgates as the spin twins – Kuldeep and Chahal – picked up a slew of wickets to leave Bangladesh eight down. Mohammad Saifuddin and Mehidy Hasan landed a few blows but by then the result was a foregone conclusion. Eventually, they were bundled out in the final over.
The architects of India’s clinical victory were Dhoni and Rahul. When Dhoni joined Rahul in the middle, India were in a spot of bother at 102 for 4 in the 22nd over. The trio of Mustafizur Rahman, Saifuddin and Rubel Hossain had extracted enough movement off the pitch to trouble India’s top order and make regular incisions. Rahul and Dhoni, however, decided to counterattack to put the pressure back on Bangladesh’s bowlers. Dhoni took on Shakib and deposited the ball into the stands in the 25th over. Rahul joined in the act by collecting a couple of fours off Abu Jayed in the very next over.
Shakib came in for more punishment as Rahul and Dhoni tonked the bowler for two boundaries and a six in the 31st over. By then, Bangladesh’s bowlers seemed to have lost the discipline as the pair of Rahul and Dhoni pressed the accelerator pedal. Rahul paddled through the nervous nineties quickly with a six off Mustafizur and completed his ton in the very next over bowled by Sabbir Rahman. Once Rahul was dismissed by Mustafizur, Dhoni and Hardik Pandya took over with a string of shots to power India past the 300-run mark. The way Dhoni cleared his front leg to thump Jayed into the stands to complete his century gave a glimpse of his pyrotechnics.
The Indian camp would be pleased with Rahul’s hundred as the right-hander finds himself in pole position to bat at number four in the World Cup. The spin twins also gave a good account of themselves. Bangladesh will play their opening fixture of the World Cup on June 2 versus South Africa. India too would open their campaign with a game against South Africa on June 5.
Brief scores: India 359/7 in 50 overs (MS Dhoni 113, KL Rahul 108; Shakib Al Hasan 2-58) beat Bangladesh 264 in 49.3 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 90, Liton Das 73; Kuldeep Yadav 3-47) by 95 runs