Punjab youngster Gurkeerat Singh’s all-round brilliance enabled India A to comfortably crush Bangladesh A by 96 runs in the first One Dayer of the three-match series in Bangalore on Wednesday.
The talented Gurkeerat contributed a quickfire 58-ball 65 to ensure a commanding total of 322 for seven for the hosts, and then effectively bowled his off-breaks to return figures of 5/29 in 7.3 overs as the visitors were bowled out for 226 in 42.3 overs.
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Gurkeerat’s five-for, In fact, was his best figures in List A as the last five Bangladesh wickets fell for just 19 runs to him.
Much was expected of India’s limited overs specialist Suresh Raina, who was coming into competitive match after a three-month rest, but he looked completely rusty during his 28-ball 16.
It was Gurkeerat along with young Sanju Samson (73) and Rishi Dhawan (56), who steadied the innings as India were reduced to 125 for five at the halfway stage after opener Mayank Agarwal (56)’s steady innings.
This was the 25-year-old Gurkeerat’s second successive Man-of-the-Match performance after his unbeaten 87 won India A the tri-series final against Australia A.
His 58-ball innings had nine boundaries as he added 102 runs in 14.5 overs with Samson and another 78 in eight overs with Dhawan whose 56 came off 34 balls with eight fours and two sixes. Dhawan also did well with the ball getting 2/51 in eight overs.
Put into bat by rival skipper Mominul Haque, opener Agarwal and Unmukt Chand (16) took the team’s total to 44 with India A skipper hitting four boundaries before Taskin Ahmed’s extra pace induced him to edge one to Litton Das behind the stumps.
Manish Pandey (1) did not last long as he edged one from seamer Shafiul Islam to Litton. Raina scratched around a bit as he played a few dot balls before he was fooled by a straighter one from off-spinner Nasir Hossain.
Kedar Jadhav (0) fell short of his crease before opening his account as India were reduced to 76 for four. Along with Samson, Agarwal steadied the innings by adding 49 runs for the fifth wicket as he completed another List A half-century.
Having hit eight boundaries, Agarwal tried to force the pace, but holed out to Soumya Sarkar off Nasir’s bowling. Gurkeerat and Samson then flayed the Bangla bowling with some audacious strokes and impressive running between the wickets.
When Bangladesh batted, left-arm seamer Srinath Aravind made good use of his knowledge of Chinnaswamy track and conditions as he swung a couple of deliveries back-to-back into the right handers Rony Talukdar (13) and Anamul Haque Bijoy (0) with the former being leg-before and latter bowled. Aravind, in his next over, removed the dangerous Soumya Sarkar caught by Jadhav.
Rishi Dhawan removed skipper Mominul Haque (19) and Sabbir Rahaman (25) to make it 87 for five before Litton, with a run-a-ball 75, and Nasir, with 52, added 120 runs for the sixth wicket.
At 207 for five, Gurkeerat weaved his magic as the last five wickets fell for 19 runs in only 5.5 overs.