An excellent bowling performance followed by a smart effort with the bat gave India a six-wicket win over Bangladesh in the second fixture of the Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 International triangular tournament at Colombo’s R. Premadasa Stadium.
First, Jaydev Unadkat (3/38) and Vijay Shankar (2/32) picked up most of the wickets and Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar kept things tight to restrict the opposition to 139/8, a below-par score on a pitch where batting wasn’t too difficult.
Shikhar Dhawan then stroked a 43-ball 55 to lead the Indian charge to victory, which they achieved with eight balls in hand.
The Player of the Match was Shankar, who had two catches – including a sitter by Suresh Raina – dropped in his first over, but still picked up two big wickets, those of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah.
Shankar is an all-rounder, but it’s his batting that he is more known for, but he is happy to be contributing to the Indian team in whatever capacity he can. “I’ve been looking forward for this, working really hard. Really happy that I got this award,” said Shankar, after only his second international match.
“I’ve been working hard on my bowling the last few years and bowling is something that has given me something extra in my game. I’ve been looking to give some breakthroughs to my team.”
Rohit Sharma, leading India as Virat Kohli gets a rest, was happy with the performance.
“It was a great performance, something that was expected from us. Right from the start till the last ball was bowled, it was clinical. The way we came out and bowled and later the way we batted – complete team effort,” he gushed.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Bangladesh innings was the number of dot balls they allowed the Indians – 55 in all. They hit 12 fours and three sixes, but it looked like the intention was to hammer everything, at least in the first part of the innings.
Mahmudullah, leading Bangladesh in Shakib Al Hasan’s continued absence, accepted the error on the part of the batsmen. “I think we need to rotate the strike more often; dot balls are creating the pressure obviously on the batsmen and we need to find a way to hit the gaps and score some boundaries in the middle overs,” he said.
Sharma suggested that bowling back of the length was a plan on the part of the Indians, and it wasn’t just poor batting by Bangladesh that led to things being the way they were. “It was something we looked into, what went wrong in the last game against Sri Lanka. We thought hitting the length was probably the better option and we wanted their batsmen to take on the longer boundary,” he explained.
“That was the plan. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. When it works, it looks good. But it’s important to back it (the plan), and sometimes the bowlers need that support from the captain, and the players as well. So I thought they (the bowlers) executed their plans really well.”
Bangladesh have been going through a lean trot, which has coincided with the departure of Chandika Hathurusingha as their coach and Shakib’s extended layoff.
“I think we are just one win away; if we get one win, it will boost us and it will reflect on our game as well,” said the stand-in captain. “We are searching for that win ad hopefully we will get it.
“It’s obvious that we didn’t bat well. We should have scored probably 30 more runs. They (India) executed their plans very well. We need to work out how to get runs on this sort of wicket.”
India, meanwhile, might have restricted Bangladesh to a small total and won the game, but their catching left a lot to be desired – Raina put down a sitter, Sundar a tougher one, and on one occasion, three fielders converged on a chance only for all of them to let it go.
“Absolutely – always room for improvement there,” acknowledged Sharma. “We want to get better as a fielding side every game we play. It was not the ideal day for us on the field. We are much better than that and we have some work to do, and hopefully we won’t make those mistakes again.”