India romped into the semifinals of the ICC World Twenty20 with three straight wins, the last but not the least against a miserable Bangladesh, at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur last night. It was another full house that cheered on the struggling home side but there was no sparkle from their beloved Tigers, who suffered an eight–wicket defeat.
The home side actually lost the contest at the halfway mark, a complement from yet another wobbly batting that put up a face-saving 138 runs. Interestingly, Bangladesh's 138 for seven is so far the highest against India in the meet, but was never going to be a challenging total for the vaunted Indian batting line-up.
The home team bowlers tried their heart out initially to keep the Indian batsmen in check and medium pacer Al-Amin Hossain brought some cheers by dismissing Shikhar Dhawan. But run-machine Virat Kohli joined Rohit Sharma to complete yet another clinical job, following wins against Pakistan and West Indies.
India raced to 141 in 18.3 overs with Kohli hitting an unbeaten 57 while captain MS Dhoni, who promoted himself up in the batting order to do some practice, struck 22 in no time.
And by the time Dhoni was hitting some lusty blows there were not many people in the stands, a complete contrast of the atmosphere that prevailed before the start of the game. It is customary that players' names are announced from in-field sound system before a game. And when the names of Bangladeshi players were announced one by one, it was greeted with deafening roar. The fans were rooting with the expectation that at least their top batsmen would show the grit and determination that is needed for any team in bad times. But what Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan did yesterday, only killed the team's hopes.
Opener Anamul Haque was the top scorer before he was bowled by yet another beautiful googly from Amit Mishra. The right-hander played some attractive shots in an innings of 43-ball 44 that contained five fours and two sixes. Mahmudullah Riyad hit some big shots towards the end during his 23-ball 33 to make sure the total would not be too ugly.
Bangladesh made a good start after Dhoni sent the home side into bat, scoring 13 runs from pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Left-handed Tamim started with a lucky boundary and then Anamul executed two sweetly-timed fours. In the third over, Tamim got a big life to do something special as Dhawan missed a chance to run out the dashing opener from close range. Tamim was miles away and gave up hopes but still he was there only to waste the extra life as he gave a catch practice for Suresh Raina in the slips off a tossed-up Ravi Ashwin delivery in the next over.
Shamsur Rahman, who got his first match coming in for Sabbir Rahman, went down on his knee in his first delivery in the next ball and played the sweep in the air. Only a Bangladeshi batsman probably can play this kind of a shot in his comeback knock.
Bangladesh needed the best from their best performer but Shakib gifted his wicket to Bhuvneshwar. The left-hander walked down the pitch but it was neither a defensive push nor an aggressive ploy and he inside-edged the pacer onto the stumps.
Apparently the game was over for the home side with 21 for three in 4.1 overs. In-form Mishra came to attack in the 10th over and gave five runs as Bangladesh reached 56 for three thanks to Mushfiqur Rahim who played some of his trademark sweep shots. Mishra finished with impressive figures of three for 26, but before all his magic Bangladesh themselves had made all the mistakes.