Written by Sahil Malhotra | March 19, 2015 7:27 pm
India registered another emphatic win when they outclassed Bangladesh in the 2015 World Cup quarters at the MCG on Wednesday. While India was playing to get to the semis so as to keep up its image of being the World Champions, Bangladesh had nothing to lose. And they played like they had ‘nothing to lose’, at least in the initial few overs of the game. However, at the end of the day, India proved that they were better with the bat and the ball. (Full Coverage| Points table| Fixtures)
The Blue Brigade recovered from a spot of bother, to put a decent score and then defend it with a good bowling and fielding performace that underlined that this Indian lot is a cut above the rest. The 109-run win was comprehensive in any sense of the term. Here’s a look at the five talking points from a rather one-sided quarter-final:
Talent comes to party: The very talented right-hander couldn’t have timed his return to form better. Scores of 16, 64, 7, 57*, 0, 15 didn’t quite do justice to the Mumbaikar. Thursday, however, was a different day, and Rohit Sharma truly turned up at the party. Despite wickets falling at regular intervals and a pumped-up Bangladesh bowling line up, the opener stood there like a rock and operated with the precision of a surgeon. The bigger boundaries didn’t quite make his knock the typical boundary-fest we are used to, but the 126-ball 137 was a very mature and well-paced innings.
The Kohli send-off: Kohli was out in the most frustrating manner, reaching out to a delivery worth being left alone. He got the big stride in, didn’t reach anywhere close to the ball and ended up edging it to the keeper. The Delhi Dasher lasted only six deliveries in the middle and was given a send-off like never before. This was not the first time that Rubel Hossain – the bowler who took the wicket – and Kohli have stared each other in the eye. When it happened in the 2011 World Cup opener, Kohli, who scored a hundred, had the last laugh. But this time it was Rubel’s chance to settle scores. The seamer, in the news for both the right and wrong reasons, was pumped up after sending Kohli packing. He was almost into Kohli before his teammates pulled him back and restored some much needed calm. While the send-off didn’t quite affect the manner in which India batted, it clearly fired them up when they were out defending the total.
The pace battery: The Indian seamers were on the money from the word go. Tamim Iqbal did take them on early, but it was heartening to see the manner in which they responded. Umesh Yadav, in particular, was pumped up. The Vidarbha seamer bowled with a lot of fire and his accuracy deserves a mention. Out of the 55 deliveries he bowled, 50 were on either middle or just outside off. The lengths he bowled make a very good grouping around gohe od-length spot, and explains why he ended up taking four wickets and conceding only three boundaries.
Sir shows promise: Promise is a term tad too harsh for a player like Jadeja. The all-rounder was Dhoni’s Man Friday before he picked up an injury ahead of the Australia tour. Warming the bench for way too long forced him out of match mode, and it reflected during his stints before this contest. Jadeja’s inability to make a substantial contribution with both bat and ball raised alarm bells, but his little cameo with the bat in the quarter-final would do wonders to his confidence. The stint was as brief as 10 balls but the crucial 23 he scored off them helped India earn that little psychological edge of 300-plus total. The confidence showed in the way he moved on the field, while defending the total, and his spell with the ball. Yes, he conceded at over 5 an over, but managed to pick two wickets in the process.
Field-good factor: This Indian team is a cut above the rest. With all due respect to the likes of Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, the Men in Blue have been very consistent in the field and have given nothing away. The days are gone when you could identify a weak thrower in the Indian unit. Look around, each one of them possess an arm capable of disturbing timber from any distance. With 15 catches in the World Cup so far, Dhoni, very quietly, has made a statement – if not technically correct, he’s safe as a bucket behind the stumps.
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