Favourites India launched their campaign in style as they thrashed Bangladesh by 45 runs riding on a brilliant 83 by Rohit Sharma in the opening encounter of the Asia Cup T20 tournament here today.
Put into bat on a pacer-friendly wicket, India scored a challenging 166 for six with Rohit scoring his runs under pressure after they were reduced to 42 for three at one stage. Hardik Pandya (31 off 18 balls) was the other notable contributor.
In reply, Bangladesh were never in the game being restricted to 121 for seven in the stipulated 20 overs at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.
Their decision to prepare a greenish wicket and unleash four pacers boomeranged badly as the home team’s batsmen could neither handle spin or pace and were virtually decimated on the day.
Veteran Ashish Nehra (3/23) was literally unplayable with his variations as well as brisk pace that he generated. He was on a hat-trick in his final over.
Jasprit Bumrah (1/23 in 4 overs) also dealt an initial blow while Pandya (1/23 in 4 overs), Ravichhandran Ashwin (1/23 in 4 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (0/25 in 4 overs) maintained the pressure to indicate the real difference in quality between the two sides.
It was a welcome victory for India and their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Bangladesh soil after their disastrous ODI series loss, here last year.
Rohit built his innings to perfection amidst top-order collapse, hitting seven fours fours and three sixes as the 25,000 strong partisan Bangladeshi fans were stunned into silence.
He was complemented well by young Hardik Pandya, who smashed a quickfire 18-ball-31, including a huge six off home team’s ‘wonder boy’ Mustafizur Rahaman, and four sweetly-timed boundaries. The Rohit-Pandya stand yielded 61 runs for the fifth wicket in only 4.3overs. Their 50 run stand came off only 17 balls.
While India got into trouble at 52 for three after first 10 overs, the next 10 saw them score a whopping 114 runs, primarily due to Rohit, who enthralled one and all with his dazzling stroke play.
When he was finally out to brilliant catch in the deep by Soumya sarkar, India had not only recovered but were also on their way to a competitive target.
Skipper Dhoni finished the innings with a pulled six off Al-Amin Hossain (3/37).