The Indian fans sighed with relief, the reason being India’s fine performance in the ICC World Cup 2019 warm-up match played against Bangladesh at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
India posted a mammoth total of 359/7 and Bangladesh could muster only 264.
Although Bangladesh got an early advantage by winning the toss and their plan to bowl first looked like a masterstroke as both the Indian openers fell for nothing, their early gains fizzled away in the wake of severe onslaught launched by Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni and the rest of the batsmen in the latter half of Indian innings.
While Rahul scored 108 runs, Dhoni’s massive 113 helped India breach the 350 mark. Batting wasn’t the only factor that contributed to this victory, the Indian bowlers did equally well.
As expected, there was no change in the batting order. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan opened the innings for India. Even after playing 42 balls, Sharma could manage to score only 19 runs. Shikhar Dhawan, on the other hand, scored only 1 run off the 9 balls that he faced before getting out, once again to a left arm fast bowler. This was the second successive failure of otherwise trusted Indian opening pair. While Sharma was bowled by Rubel when he played on his stumps, Mustazfizur sent Dhawan back to the pavilion.
Kohli scored 47 runs and resurrected Indian innings to some extent in company of KL Rahul. He was bowled by Mohamad Saifuddin.
Vijay Shankar’s return to the team was a miserable one as he could score only 2 runs before he was caught by Rahim off Rubel.
At the fall of Vijay Shankar’s wicket, India was reeling at 102 for 4 and was not even sure of setting a target of 200 for Bangladesh but the man who walked in next was MS Dhoni and what unfolded next was a massacre of Bangladesh bowling attack. Rahul and Dhoni stitched a 164 run partnership. KL Rahul smashed 108 runs off 99 balls and Dhoni scored 113 off 78 balls.
Pandya, Karthik and Jadeja scored 21, 7 and 11 runs respectively, thereby setting up a target of 360 for Bangladesh to chase.
Bangladesh opened with Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar. Sarkar was first out at a score of 25 runs off 29 balls, caught by Karthik off Bumrah and off Bumrah’s next ball, new batsman, Shakib was yorked before he could even open his account.
Liton Das managed to score 73 runs off 90 balls before being stumped by Dhoni off Chahal. Veteran Mushfiqur Rahim played a sensible innings of 90 runs before he was bowled by Kuldeep Yadav as he stepped out to hit him. After the fall of Mushfiqur’s wicket, the other Bangladesh batsmen simply caved in to some very good bowling by Indian spinners and Bangladesh was all out for 264 runs off 49.3 overs thereby losing the match by 95 runs.
This match has lived up to the expectations of India’s fans. The biggest positives of today’s match were Rahul’s batting at No 4 position and Kuldeep Yadav’ coming to form. Rahul’s performance at No 4 spot means that the debate for No 4 spot has finally settled and coming to form of Kuldeep Yadav after a disastrous IPL season means that our bowlers are all set to make the life of opposite batsmen miserable but the batting of top order is a worrying factor and it needs to click in World Cup matches.
All in all, a very commendable performance by the Indian team just before the start of ICC World Cup 2019.