Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim goes on the back foot to cut one on his way to scoring a superb 117 against India in the Asia Cup at Fatullah yesterday. PHOTO: FIROZ AHMED
It virtually turned into a battle of captains and Virat Kohli's brilliance cancelled out Mushfiqur Rahim's superb hundred to put an end to India's eight-match winless streak.
With 279 for seven on the board and having removed both Indian openers with the score on 54, the Tigers were on course to affect a memorable turnaround in their Asia Cup opener with only Indian run-machine Kohli in their path, and he silenced the partisan capacity crowd at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah last night.
The right-hander's second hundred against the Tigers, overall 19th in 131 matches, guided India to topple the home side's challenging total to cruise to a six–wicket victory as well as avenged their defeat in the last Asia Cup at Mirpur.
The capacity crowd burst into joy when pacer Ziaur Rahman bowled Rohit Sharma after left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak trapped Shikhar Dhawan in front as India were reduced to 54 for two but the players were not happy yet as they knew the danger man was still there to shut out the possibility of reprising sweet memories of the 2012 Asia Cup. Eventually, Kohli toyed with the bowling as only he can nowadays to make sure that Bangladesh would rue being a few runs short despite Mushfiqur and Anamul Haque's brilliant batting effort on a placid track.
As Mushfiqur got able support from Anamul during Bangladesh's innings after being sent in to bat first, Kohli received the same from 25-year old right-hander Ajinkya Rahane (73), who shared a 213–run third wicket partnership with his skipper.
The new-ball duo of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Rubel Hossain had a perfect start as they carried on from the batsmen's discipline in their bowling effort but once Kohli came to the middle it seemed that the bowlers, particularly spinners, had no idea about where to pitch the ball. Kohli made no mistake to punish the bad deliveries to release the pressure of the run-rate. Mushfiqur rotated his eight bowlers but failed to produce wickets and bring his team back into contention.
During his 136 Kohli hammered 16 fours and 2 sixes and when Rubel bowled him it was too late as India were then only 13 runs adrift with more than four overs remaining.
The Tigers however have something to take from the match as they finally regained some discipline and purpose in batting after a poor show in the home series against Sri Lanka. Mushfiqur's batting was simply fantastic and he was only the second Bangladeshi batsman after Alok Kapali to make a hundred against India.
Though his 117-run knock finally went in vain, he deserves kudos for his effort which will definitely give the Tigers some confidence. Mushfiqur showed how one could win a prolonged battle against bowlers and also displayed plenty of fortitude to flourish after being felled by a beamer from Varun Aaron.
A 133-run third wicket stand between Mushfiqur and Anamul (77) laid the foundation to reach the 300-mark but the untimely dismissals of Naeem Islam and Nasir Hossain ultimately appeared costly.
Mohammad Shami might not get enough attention in the face of two centuries in the match but he was brilliant with a four-wicket haul on a belter of a pitch.
Bangladesh will play their second match against Afghanistan at the same venue on Saturday.