Saturday, Nov 01, 2014

Open and shut encounter

Robin Uthappa's fifty, his sixth in this format, came in 42 balls with three fours and as many sixes (Source: AP) Robin Uthappa's fifty, his sixth in this format, came in 42 balls with three fours and as many sixes (Source: AP)
Express News Service | Mirpur | Posted: June 15, 2014 1:03 pm | Updated: June 16, 2014 8:03 am

It looked like India would reach the original victory target of 273 unscathed. Robin Uthappa and Ajinkya Rahane were batting with ridiculous ease against some very pedestrian Bangladesh bowling. Only a mistake could have separated them and umpire Enamul Haque made one to terminate Uthappa’s innings.

India had raced to 99/0 in 16 overs when Shakib Al Hasan appealed for a leg before decision against Uthappa. The Indian opener had inside-edged the arm ball onto his pads but the umpire raised his finger. Then the rains arrived before the over could be finished, making the first ODI at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday a truncated affair.

India were 100 for one in 16.4 overs when play stopped, and despite a two-and-a-half hours rain delay, during which it poured so heavily that it appeared as if resumption would be impossible, the excellent drainage ensured that the game would not be called off. India was set a revised target of 150 runs in 26 overs.

This meant that they faced a slightly tricky passage of play. They needed a further 50 runs at almost a run a ball.

Cheteshwar Pujara got out in the second ball after resumption to another dubious leg before decision by the same umpire but Rahane and Ambati Rayudu kept their composure. When Rahane fell after compiling his own fifty, stand-in skipper Suresh Raina put the finishing touches with back-to-back fours to secure a seven-wicket win with seven balls to spare.

Uthappa and Rahane’s 99-run first wicket partnership made the job easy. The former was returning to the Indian ODI fold after six years and got going with a glide to the third man boundary off Al-Amin Hossain in the fourth over. He followed it up with an on-drive between the bowler and mid-on for another four. Uthappa’s fifty, his sixth in this format, came in 42 balls with three fours and as many sixes.

Rahane misses out
Rahane was circumspect to start with but soon joined the party by getting down the wicket to Mashrafe  Mortaza and dispatching him to  the mid-on fence.

His first six was exquisite — an effortless drive over extra cover. A 70-ball 64 (5X4, 2X6) and two very good catches gave him the Man of the Match award, which was well earned.

Earlier, Bangladesh made 272 for nine after Mushfiqur Rahim chose to bat first on a slow pitch. At 235 for eight and just 23 balls remaining, the hosts seemed cornered. But India didn’t have their fast bowlers available to bowl the death-overs. Mohit Sharma limped off in his fourth over and then returned to bowl just two more.

Umesh Yadav suffered a cramp towards the end and couldn’t finish his quota. He, however, was  impressive in his continued…

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