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India pips a fighting Bangladesh in tense contestfinish, inches closer to a semifinal spot 


Litton’s 27-ball 60 goes in vain as the Tigers fall short by five runs in a rain-affected match; Rahul finds his feet finally while Kohli continues to shine; Men in Blue defend a total of 184, thanks to Arshdeep who bowls a match-swinging over and keeps his nerve at the death

Litton’s 27-ball 60 goes in vain as the Tigers fall short by five runs in a rain-affected match; Rahul finds his feet finally while Kohli continues to shine; Men in Blue defend a total of 184, thanks to Arshdeep who bowls a match-swinging over and keeps his nerve at the death

A Wednesday night of whimsical skies and moist interludes threw up a close game. The kind that had the players walking the razor’s edge. In the end India prevailed over a fighting Bangladesh in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Super 12 Group 2 match here at the Adelaide Oval. The Men in Blue won by five runs after a rain-break reduced Bangladesh’s target to 151 from 16 overs while originally India had posted 184 for six.

Blinder

Pursuing a stiff total, Bangladesh set a breathless pace with Litton Das playing the lead act. The opener played a blinder, finding his early appetisers from Arshdeep Singh, the fours coming with rapidity. Bhuvneshwar Kumar wasn’t spared too. There was a sliver of luck for Litton on 27, as his edge eluded a diving Dinesh Karthik.

It got worse for Bhuvneshwar as the batter scooped a six and Mohammed Shami was whipped too with another six ushering in Litton’s rapid fifty. In all this time, his fellow-opener Najmul Hossain Shanto remained a mere observer. As Shami steamed in, Litton unleashed an inside-out lofted drive. The rains then slithered in and Bangladesh at 66 for no loss in seven overs was ahead by 17 runs on the DLS Method.

Momentum shift

When the showers paused and the game restarted at 9.50 p.m. (local time), Bangladesh needed 85 from nine overs.

There was a shift in momentum as Shanto sought a two off R. Ashwin and a flailing Litton (60) failed to beat K.L. Rahul’s throw from the deep and the tide began to change.

Shanto and captain Shakib Al Hasan played some rousing strokes but they and the rest attempted to soar past the fence and that resulted in a flurry of catches.

It boiled down to 20 from the last over and despite Nurul Hasan pulling a six, Arshdeep kept his head and Bangladesh finished with 145 for six

Earlier, Shakib won the toss and elected to field and Rahul’s quest for runs finally yielded results.

The opener deposited Shoriful Islam into the stands while Rohit Sharma enjoyed a reprieve on one, being dropped by Hasan Mahmud off Taskin Ahmed.

However, Rohit failed to capitalise and immediately found a fielder.

Meanwhile, Rahul toyed with Mahmud, hitting a four and six, shots that blended power with aesthetics. Virat Kohli got his initial runs through edges before settling into his hurried-single and the expansive shot routine.

Soon Rahul raced to his 50, hoisting and slicing Shoriful Islam for sixes just as the sun’s rays lit up the traditional scoreboard. The opener immediately succumbed to Shakib, lobbing one to short fine-leg.

Next-man Suryakumar Yadav cut Shakib, escaped a run-out, got dropped on 11 by Mustafizur Rahman and essayed two disdainful fours off Mahmud. Suryakumar fell on the cut to Shakib.

It was left to Kohli (64 n.o.) to hold fort as Hardik Pandya, Karthik and Axar Patel formed a procession back to the dugout.

The former captain pulled and hoisted Mahmud while in the last over from Shoriful, Ashwin turned the aggressor, finding the elevation over square-leg and then chipping one over mid-off as India finished with a total that survived through the night and perhaps has one foot in the semifinals.



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