"It was important, a big game, a quarter-final. I wanted to make it count."
India defeated Bangladesh by 109 runs in the second quarter-final of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), on Thursday 19th March 2015.
Having won the toss, India decided to bat, and posted a formidable total of 302-6 from 50 overs.
This was always going to be tough target to chase as no team has ever successfully chased a total greater than 300 at the MCG. Bangladesh’s valiant effort of 193 all out fell short of this milestone.
Player of the Match, Rohit Sharma, top-scored with an impressive 137 runs from 126 balls. He played in a measured manner and anchored the Indian innings on his way to his first World Cup hundred.
Sharma was supported by Suresh Raina who scored 65 runs off 57 balls. Together, they led India to a late surge at the end of their innings.
Initially, Sharma curbed his instinct to play the big shots, whilst scoring at an efficient strike rate. But in the last 15 overs he let loose with some stunning strokeplay, in what could be described as the Rohit Sharma Show.
Player of the Match Sharma said: “It was important, a big game, a quarter-final. I wanted to make it count. I’m glad that we posted a big total.”
He added: “It was important for me to stay, especially knowing that we lost a couple of wickets in the middle.”
However, India’s victory was by no means a foregone conclusion. Bangladesh have been the Cinderella story at this year’s 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. And for the first 32 overs, Bangladesh had the upper hand.
After a steady start by the Indian openers, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, Bangladesh took three quick wickets.
Dhawan was stumped out by a sharp Mushfiqur Rahim on 30 runs from 50 balls. He had a momentary lapse in concentration and was defeated by Shakib Al Hasan’s flight.
Almost immediately after, India’s star man, Virat Kohli, who averaged over 100 against Bangladesh, was caught behind on 3.
Rubel Hossain bowled a superb spell and built up pressure with four dot balls. Kohli cracked and over-reached for a wide ball, which he edged behind to Mushfiqur.
Taskin Ahmed bowled with pace and purpose. His hard toil was rewarded with the wicket of Rahane, who lofted the ball to Shakib.
India were startled in the middle overs, in which they only managed to score at a rate of 3.2 an over. Between the 15th and the 26th over, India did not score a single boundary.
Led by the bowling of left-arm spinner, Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh applied the pressure and really put the squeeze on in the middle overs.
Bangladesh were in the driving seat. But their captain, Mashrafe Mortaza, failed to pull the trigger. He wanted to save his strike bowlers for the death, rather than hurt India when they were down. In addition, his own poor bowling got punished.
The last 18 overs of the innings was all India. They wrested back the momentum with a batting powerplay from the 36th to 40th over, in which they scored 50 runs at a run rate of 5.0.
In the final 10 overs, India scored 97 runs. Rohit Sharma, by now established at the crease, came into his own and played some fabulous strokes. Ravindra Jadeja came in at the end for a cameo of 23 from 15 balls.
The Indian seamers came out firing with the ball. The openers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami zipped the ball through with pace and bounce, and they were backed up by the consistency and swing of Mohit Sharma.
The Bangladeshi openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes made a bright start in the first five overs. But after scoring some stylish boundaries Tamim (25) was caught behind by Dhoni thanks to some excellent bowling by Yadav.
The ball after, Imrul Kayes (5) was run out by some excellent fielding by Jadeja, and Yadav backing up behind the stumps at the bowler’s end.
With the sting taken out of the Bangladeshi attack, Mohammed Shami struck with a double-strike of key man Mahmudullah (21), followed by Soumya Sarkar (29).
Ravindra Jadeja joined the party with the wicket of Shakib (10). The spirited attitude of the lower order of Mushfiqur Rahim (27), Sabbir Rahman (30), and Nasir Hossain (35) was commendable, but unfortunately, too little too late.
Umesh Yadav was the pick of the Indian bowlers with four wickets for 31 runs from nine overs, with one maiden, at an economy of 3.44.
On the day, India were just too good for Bangladesh. But Bangladesh can go home with their heads held high. They did not come to the Cricket World Cup to make up the numbers. They came to compete. And cricket fans have been thoroughly entertained by their performances at this tournament.
India have shown that they are complete in all facets, batting, bowling, fielding, captaincy, and temperament. They have consistently field the same side. They will be tested in the semi-final but will be formidable for whoever they come up against.
India progress to the semi-final on Thursday 26th March 2015, against either Australia and Pakistan, at the famous Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).