T20 World Cup: India boost semi-final chances with five-run win over Bangladesh

ADELAIDE (Agencies): India moved to the brink of a semi-final spot with a tense five-run victory over Bangladesh in a rain-affected Men’s T20 World Cup match in Adelaide.

They were given a scare by the Tigers, who raced to 66-0 in seven overs, chasing 185, thanks to Litton Das’ 21-ball fifty before rain stopped play. Bangladesh were 17 runs ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) par score but saw their target revised to 151 off 16 overs.

A furious Das slipped on the wet pitch and was run out shortly after the restart, with the Tigers then losing regular wickets in a faultless fielding display by India.
Needing 20 from the last over, Nurul Hasan hit a six and a four to take the game to the last ball. A six would have made it a tie and a super over, but seamer Arshdeep Singh held his nerve and conceded just a single to leave the Tigers on 145-6.

India are now top of Group 2 and victory in their final game against Zimbabwe will guarantee their place in the semi-finals, while Bangladesh need to beat Pakistan and hope other results go their way.

Earlier, KL Rahul’s fifty and Virat Kohli’s third half-century of the tournament helped India post 184-6. Das’ stunning knock of 60 off 27 gave Bangladesh real hope of an upset but the rain and their opponents’ nerveless fielding ultimately ensured their 11th defeat in 12 T20s against India.

Bangladesh frustrated by DLS controversy
India’s total of 185 felt well beyond Bangladesh’s reach at the halfway stage, but Das felt differently.

He played with little fear and little respect for India’s pace bowlers, who have been prolific in the tournament so far.

It was a heroic effort from the opener to ensure his side were so far ahead of the par score after the powerplay, finding the boundary regularly with a combination of power and flair – a ramp over his shoulder for six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar the highlight.

But when it was confirmed that play would resume, Bangladesh needed 85 from the remaining nine overs. That meant scoring at a higher run-rate than they had been doing to get themselves into such a strong position. Captain Shakib Al Hasan was visibly aggrieved, touching the wet ground and gesturing to the umpires that it was unsafe to resume yet.

And their fears soon became reality when Das slipped trying for a second run from the second ball after the delay. Rahul’s immense one-handed pick up and throw may have dismissed Das anyway but his slip ensured the playing conditions will be a major talking point.

And Das’ wicket was the key – it sparked a collapse of six wickets for 40 runs, India safely pouching four high catches, to severely dent Bangladesh’s hopes as the run rate climbed, with Nurul’s unbeaten 14-ball 25 in vain.

The tournament has had four games abandoned by rain already, with South Africa and Zimbabwe finally called off after Zimbabwe players had slipped over.

“It has been the story of us against India. We are always almost there but never cross the line,” said Shakib. “We wanted to enjoy this World Cup and we played a good game of cricket. We have one game left and I hope we can continue that.”
Sublime Kohli’s fine form continues.

After half-centuries against Pakistan and the Netherlands, Kohli bounced back from a failure against South Africa to punish Bangladesh. The Tigers’ bowlers started with impressive discipline, removing Rohit Sharma for two and Taskin Ahmed conceding just 15 runs from his five overs.

But Kohli, building off Rahul’s fast start and supported by Suryakumar Yadav’s 30 from 15 balls, withstood it all. Edges flew past the stumps and catching chances just evaded the fielders before he moved through the gears, deflating the Bangladesh bowlers in the process.

His 64 not out takes his tally of runs to 220 in four innings – and the swagger and confidence of old has returned. India look set for the semi-finals, and will be desperate for their star man to keep on firing.

“It was another good day with the bat and I was just trying to play myself into the innings,” he said. “I felt like I was striking it really well. I’m just in a happy place. “I don’t want to compare, and in this present moment I’m happy to contribute for my team.”