The Men in Blue jumped to the top of the table after beating their neighbours in the second game of the tournament at the Adelaide Oval. With six points to their name after winning five runs (DLS method), India overtook South Africa in the points tally and are now the favourites to reach the Round of 16.
India will now face Zimbabwe in Sunday’s remaining match, which will also be the final group stage match of the tournament, and will be heavily favored to emerge victorious against the team that had stunned Pakistan and nearly achieved a similar win against Bangladesh before losing to the Netherlands on Sunday.
Now we look at some of the talking points from India’s final meeting in the tournament:
Welcome back KL
Perhaps the highlight of the match was KL Rahul’s return with the bat. The under-fired opener had racked up single figures in each of India’s forays into the tournament thus far and was under immense pressure to maintain his position as skipper Rohit Sharma’s opening partner.
Lea: “I wasn’t worried about missing the last three games,” says Rahul
And boy did he silence his critics in style, tackling the attack in Bangladesh at a time when India Rohit had lost ground early on and Virat Kohli was still nestling in the fold. Rahul played some glorious shots during his 50 balls out of 32 hitting three fours and four sixes, one of which was a square cut across the point fence that is sure to feature in any tournament highlights compilation.
The king continues to deliver
While Rahul’s 50 gave India the kind of positive start they were looking for after losing ground early, it was Virat Kohli’s undefeated 64 that ultimately kept the innings together and helped the Men in the Blue finish. Kohli didn’t start as confident as he would have liked, he got some leads that happily flew way above the outfielders on his first few deliveries, but he looked more and more comfortable in the fold once he set his sights.
It wasn’t the attack of a lifetime he produced against Pakistan, but it was nevertheless another quality contribution from Kohli, an inning that included some beautiful shots, such as Hasan Mahmud’s six in a row in the penultimate over. And unlike Rahul, who returned to form after a run of low scores, Kohli continued his glorious streak, raising his average in the current tournament to a whopping 220.
Litton owns the power play
However, Bangladesh almost took the game away from the Indians, thanks mainly to Litton Das’s brilliance in power play overs. Having lost in each of Bangladesh’s previous matches in the current tournament, the batsman-keeper gave team management a strong reminder of why he belongs at the top of the batting order with a staggering 60 in just 27 deliveries.
Das started attacking early, breaking three limits from Arshdeep Singh in the second before collecting six and two fours from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, all from back-to-back deliveries, in the third. Mohammed Shami was not spared either, leading the pace with 16 runs in his second over as Bangladesh scored to 60 without losing late in the power play, 56 of those runs coming from Litton’s bat.
Taskin’s day out
While it was certainly the standout performance of the day with a field mile, Litton’s fiery 60 wasn’t the camp’s only worthy contribution in Bangladesh. Taskin Ahmed has also made a valuable all-around contribution to helping Bangladesh to stay in the hunt till the end.
One of the reasons India made slow progress in the first half of their innings after being asked to bat by Bangladesh was Taskin’s commanded spell, in which he conceded just 15 runs from his quota of four overs and had a nanny. . from his bowling alley. And Taskin then hit a six and a four to Hardik Pandya in the penultimate skip of the chase to give Bangladesh hopes to chase the revised target of 151 after 16 overs.
Indian fielding makes a difference
India’s fielding against Bangladesh couldn’t have been more different from what they dished out in the five-wicket loss to South Africa; the Men in Blue had outpaced their assistants and missed crucial runs against the Proteas on Sunday, causing the game to slip out of their hands. Against the Bangla Tigers, it was like they had glue on their hands as they seized every opportunity that came their way, causing the Bangladeshis to fall apart after the rainstorm.
But it was Rahul’s direct hit that undone a well-placed Badger and that was the game-changing moment. Das hit 60 and single-handedly could have jeopardized India’s semi-final hopes when Rahul hit the target with a perfect shot at the non-attacker, marking a crucial breakthrough for the Men in Blue.
It turned out to be a big day for the opening batsman who had batted a spirited half-century earlier that day.