India cruise into semis


Published: Thursday 19th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Rohit Sharma led defending champions India into the semi-finals of the World Cup with a 109-run victory over Bangladesh at the MCG.

Sharma’s imperious 137 provided the backbone of India’s innings as they made 302 for six.

W ith a big total to defend, it was then over to Umesh Yadav, who took four for 31 to restrict Bangladesh, who were all out for 193.

India made a spirited start with Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan both getting among the boundaries in the opening overs.

Bangladesh resorted to spin at an early stage but could not stop India’s openers rattling towards 75 for nought before Dhawan fell.

Mushfiqur Rahim whipped the bails off after Shakib Al Hasan’s delivery beat Dhawan for 30. It was unclear whether the batsman’s foot was outside of the crease, but Bangladesh were proved right as their appeal for a first wicket was successful.

The second followed in the next over as Virat Kohli went for only three runs having edged Rubel Hossain to wicketkeeper Mushfiqir.

I ndia realised Bangladesh were right back in contention and rallied to reach 100 with a flick to midwicket from Ajinkya Rahane, and Sharma duly brought up his workmanlike 50 with a push through long-on off Al Hasan.

Rahane’s brief stand ended when Taskin Ahmed removed him for 19 and India were suddenly looking shaky again on 115 for three.

Good fortune soon sided with India as Suresh Raina managed to improbably survive a review having been given out lbw to Mashrafe Mortaza. Ball tracking showed the ball pitching just outside leg to the disbelief of both sets of players.

Raina took full advantage, smashing a six as India tried to turn up the heat.

They were briefly halted by a short interruption for rain but were quickly back into their rhythm – although Sharma had a let off when he was caught at deep midwicket, only for a questionable no-ball to be called against Rubel for the ball being above waist-height.

Sharma shrugged that off to bring up his century – off another no ball – but there was soon joy for Bangladesh as Raina (65) mis-timed a pull-shot off Mortaza and sent a top-edge high into the sky for Mushfiqur to snare.

Sharma sought to turn the screw but paid for aggression as he was yorked by Taskin, departing for 137 off 126 balls.

Ravindra Jadeja came in and added quick runs, but captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, struggling for rhythm, mis-timed a shot off Taskin to go for six.

India just nosed past 300 to set Bangladesh a target of 303, and they made a decent start thanks to some rapid scoring from Tamim Iqbal.

But the wheels came off in the space of two balls. First, Tamim edged Yadav to go for 25 and then, off the next ball, fellow opener Imrul Kayes was run out in a mix-up with Soumya Sarkar.

That brought the in-form Mahmudullah to the crease, but he could add only 21 before Dhawan, flirting with the rope deep on the boundary, took a catch at the third attempt.

The Bangladeshi batsmen continued to show a frustrating habit of setting themselves before getting out, with Sarkar going for 29, victim of a fine catch by Dhoni off Mohammed Shami, Shakib out for 10 when he sliced Jadeja to Mohammed Shami at third man, and Mushfiqur out for 27 when he edged a short ball from Yadav and was caught by Dhoni, leaving Bangladesh on 139 for six.

Nasir Hossain and Sabbir Rahman kept the scoreboard ticking over and steered Bangladesh to 189 for six, but after Hossain fell victim to Jadeja for 35, India wrapped things up quickly.

Mortaza made only one before being removed by Sharma, and Yadav then took the final two wickets in the next over, with Rubel gone for a duck and Rahman last man out on 30 when Shami held on at the second attempt at long leg.

Published: Thursday 19th March 2015 by The News Editor

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