Published: February 20, 2011
The euphoria about the World Cup opener is gone, and all that Bangladesh are left with is the disappointment of an 87-run loss against the might of India. One aspect of yesterday’s game that will haunt the home team and its supporters for some time to come is the lapse in judgement in sending India in to bat after winning the toss. Except some flashes with the bat, nothing went right for Shakib Al Hasan’s men in the highly anticipated opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup against favourites India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
In front of a sell-out crowd the Bangladesh captain stunned everybody by taking the decision to bowl in the day-night affair. He might have had the dew factor in mind when taking the decision, but the dew turned into a thunderstorm in the likes of Indian opener Virender Sehwag and World Cup debutant Virat Kohli, who toyed with the erratic and nervous Bangladesh bowling and eventually sealed the fate of the match at the halfway mark.
Riding on Sehwag’s — who came here with a mission to avenge their defeat in the 2007 World Cup in West Indies — blistering knock of 175 and Kohli’s well-composed unbeaten hundred, India put Bangladesh under a pile of runs with 370 for four in their share of 50 overs, to dampen the enthusiasm of an electrifying home crowd who gave the entire stadium a festive mood from the morning.
The audience also included the President of Bangladesh Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
With a mountain to climb, the Bangladesh batsmen had virtually nothing to lose but could take some confidence for the next game against Ireland on the 25th, as all the top order batsmen got some runs. However, it hardly had any impact on the match as Bangladesh finished their 50-over quota at 283 for nine.
The fans’ high expectation with the match started to fade very early as a dashing Sehwag set the tone by hitting the first ball of the World Cup for four though covers. The right-hander never looked back after that as he exercised his mastery over the ordinary Bangladesh bowling attack. He seemed a little too excited initially, as he tried to belt the cover off all the deliveries bowled by the hapless Bangladeshi new ball bowlers Shafiul Islam and Rubel Hossain; both struggled with their line and length.
The experienced left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, brought into the attack in the fifth over looked good in his first over but the fact was that by that time the two Indian openers had settled, especially Sehwag.
Sehwag played shots all over the park during his career-best innings and the way he played it looked like ‘a club team’ was bowling against an international opponent. None of Bangladesh’s bowlers were able to put pressure at any stage of the match.
The first breakthrough for the home side came when Sachin Tendulkar fell victim to a run out for 28 runs, but it didn’t make much of a difference as Sehwag, who had almost reached his target of batting till 50 overs, dominated proceedings. Credit must also go to young Kohli, who once again proved his ability as a new star in India’s vaunted batting line-up.
Kohli was not out on 100 off 83 balls that contained eight fours and two sixes.
Back to Bangladesh’s innings, Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes got off to a confident start before Kayes was bowled by Munaf Patel to put an end to the 56-run opening partnership; arguably the best part for the cheering Bangladesh fans after the carnage of India’s innings. Bangladesh desperately needed something special from Tamim, but the left-hander was surprisingly not his belligerent self. Instead he scored a cautious 86-ball 70 that featured three fours and a six, while his partner Kayes tried to accelerate the score during his 29-ball 34 that contained seven boundaries.
Junaed Siddiqui (37), Shakib Al Hasan (55) and Mushfiqur Rahim (25) made contributions that only helped their side to reduce the margin of defeat.
The massive defeat will definitely bring the Tigers back to the ground from the flight of fancy they have been on of late.
SCORES IN BRIEF
INDIA: 370 for 4 (Sehwag 175, Kohli 100 not out, Gambhir 39; Mahmudullah 1-49, Shakib 1-69, Shafiullah 1-69)
BANGLADESH: 283 for 9 (Tamim 70, Shakib 55, Junaed 37; Patel 4-48, Zaheer 2-41, Harbhajan 1-41)
Result: India won by 87 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Virender Sehwag.