India Vs Bangladesh at S.S.C, Colombo, 21.7.04
Source : http://www.cricketfundas.com
Cricketfundas Highlights by B.V.Swagath
It’s time to say bye bye to the first round of this edition of the Asia Cup, where only one match was worth of watching – the India Vs Lanka match. The second phase however, which is on a round robin league basis promises lots of action. One cannot expect a neck-to-neck game between India and Bangladesh, but certainly India would try to play their best cricket in order to get into the top-notch performance levels before taking on archrivals Pakistan and Sri Lanka. For Bangladesh, it would be yet another of the many opportunities they have been receiving of late at the International level.
The Flip of the coin
Sourav Ganguly won the toss and elected to bowl first for a change. Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo has the reputation of aiding the seam and the swing bowlers early on in the innings and this wicket also looking to have some moisture might have forced Ganguly to bowl first. It was Balley Balley time for all the Turbunator’s fans as the Sardar walked back into the Indian team after a long gap of 8 months. Harbhajan replaced Anil Kumble who was rested or dropped? Parthiv Patel was sent back to school (oops was back to the bench) and in came V.V.S.Laxman after recovering from his knee injury. Bangladesh also made the same number of changes atleast to match India in this area.
The Bangladesh Batting
Give the new ball to Irfan Pathan and he would swing it on any day and poor Bangla chaps were in for a struggle early on. Their number 1 batsman – Habibul Bashar promoted himself to the opener’s slot. And that move backfired as Bashar was cleaned up by an inswinger from Irfan Pathan. The very next ball, Pathan kept it straight and the ball swung in late and trapped Razin Saleh, no way out for the batsman. The umpire had no option but to give Saleh out leg before. Irfan was on a hat trick, a feat that was earlier accomplished by only Chetan Sharma (in the World Cup) and Kapil Dev (in the Asia Cup). Alok Kapali, the new batsman however denied Irfy the feat and somehow managed to put bat on ball. Things settled down for Bangladesh from then and reversed in the case of the two Indian bowlers. Balaji was spraying the ball in both directions and was virtually helping Bangladesh’s recovery. Ashraful got stuck into his elements and played some fantastic drives to put up some solid score for his team. But like always, Kapali threw his wicket away as he poked Ashish Nehra’s delivery in the corridor of uncertainty. Bangladesh were now reduced to 56/3 in the 13th over. It was finally time to see Harbhajan in action, and he was in total control of what he was bowling right from ball no.1. Faisal Hossain, the left-hander showed a moment of heroics as he swept Bhajji into the long on stands for a six. But Harbhajan soon took revenge by rapping Faisal on his pads, an arm ball which took Faisal completely by surprise. A bad call for a single from new man Khaled Mashud ended the promising innings of Md.Ashraful for 35 and Bangladesh at 92/5. From then on, India took control by taking wickets at regular intervals. Bangladesh crumbled against the leg spin/googlies of Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar picked up three wickets and Pathan coming in for his second spell signaled the end of Bangladesh’s innings by dismissing Razzaq. Pathan took three wickets for 32 runs. But look at Harbhajan’s figures – 10-2-20-1, he definitely has created some pleasant selection problems for the team management. Bangladesh managed only 177 runs on the board and they would thank their most valuable performer – Mr. Extras who top scored with 37.
The Indian Chase
The target was moderate; there were two batsmen with two different kinds of mindsets. One was our Veeru (Sehwag) who was batting the 1st over as if it was the last over of an innings. Other was Sachin Tendulkar – I am sure he must have set his eyes on a easy hundred – this is the chance – there’s no pressure of chasing a 280 – this isn’t a Sri Lankan attack – there was a hundred for the taking if he bats on and on and why not? Sehwag is 100 % pure entertainment, after he left the 1st ball alone as if it was a formality for an opener to do so; he stuck into the hapless bowler in the next few balls. Sehwag slapped and thumped the ball through the offside and flicked the ball to collect 16 runs after playing 8 balls (as they were no-balls in that over). But Sehwag’s show was way too short as his cut found Alok Kapoli in the way at Point. Ganguly was almost timed out after he was very slow in coming to the crease. A pull shot from Ganguly announced the presence of the Royal Bengal Tiger. End of the first over and India were 22/1 – the fortunate bowler was Tareq Aziz – isn’t he fortunate as he got his name into the record books for bowling the most expensive 1st over of an innings ever? Sachin and Sourav now controlled the chase - both determined to get a score atleast against Bangladesh. They took their time and with ease started to score some runs here and there. Both the batsmen especially showed lots of respect to 3 ODIs old Abdul Razzaq, who was sharing the new ball with Tareq. Things however changed after Rafique’s couple of maidens on the trot, Sachin wasn’t going to just wait and watch Ganguly run away with the runs first, and launched a slog sweep off Rafique to mid-wicket for a six. Ganguly said enough-is-enough and in his own vintage style stepped down and hit a big six. Ganguly hit 2 more crisp lofted shots for sixes and India were now coasting along. With just 5 runs away from the victory, Ganguly got out to Rafique, trying to hit the winning six. Ganguly was out for 60 which came in 100 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes. Laxman joined Tendulkar and the remaining runs were scored and India notched up a 7-wicket win.
Tendulkar walked away with the man of the match award for his all round display. For once, India didn’t require the heroics of Rahul Dravid!