Rohit Sharma slammed a quickfire 83 to power India to a comprehensive 45-run victory against Bangladesh in the first match of the Asia Cup T20 tournament in Dhaka, on Wednesday.
Put into bat, India posted a healthy 166 for six in their 20 overs courtesy of Rohit, who smashed seven fours and three sixes in his 55-ball knock. The young Hardik Pandya chipped in with an entertaining innings of 31 from 18 balls as the duo put on 61 runs from 29 balls for the fifth wicket to get the Indian innings back on track after a poor start.
However, Bangladesh never got going with the bat and finished on a disappointing 121 in their 20 overs.
Sabbir Rahman was the only batsman to get past the 20-run mark as he hit 44 off 32 deliveries but received no support, as the Bangladeshis played careless shots and lost wickets at regular intervals.
Earlier, put into bat by Bangladesh captain Mushrafe Mortaza, India suffered an early top-order collapse before Rohit built his innings by hitting seven fours and three sixes, silencing the 25,000 strong partisan Bangladeshi fans.
The Mumbai batsman was well complemented by young Hardik Pandya, who smashed a quick-fire 18-ball 31, including a huge six off Bangladesh’s 'wonder boy' Mustafizur Rahaman, and four boundaries at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka.
The Rohit-Pandya fifth wicket stand yielded 61 runs from just 28 balls. Their 50 run stand came off just 17 balls.
While India were in trouble at 52 for three after first 10 overs, the next half 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 taken by Soumya sarkar, India had not only recovered but were also on way to setting a competitive target. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni finished the innings with a pulled six off Al-Amin Hossain (3/37).
Rohit also added 55 runs for the fourth wicket with Yuvraj Singh after India were reduced to 42 for three.
Rohit curbed his natural game in the beginning, taking into account the nature of the pitch and the position of his team.
In fact, he scored his first 20 runs off 24 balls with India managing only 52 runs in the first 10 overs.
The turning point was the 11th over of the Indian innings, Rohit was dropped on 21 by Shakib al Hasan off the bowling of Taskin Ahmed.
Rohit took full advantage of the life he received, hammering the next three deliveries for 14 runs, including two fours and a six. The first shot was bisected between point and third man, for the second one he used the bounce to slash it over deep point and the third was steered with Mustafizur at third man letting it slip between his legs.
There was no stopping Rohit as he played a perfect 'Nataraja Shot' patented by the legendary Kapil Dev, pulling the Bangladesh captain behind square leg for a boundary.
Yuvraj also got some confidence as he played an on-drive off Mustafizur to collect a boundary. Rohit completed his 10th T20 International 50 off 42 balls with a single off Shakib Al Hasan.
But after the first big hit that Yuvraj tried, he holed out at the deep mid-wicket boundary by Soumya Sarkar off Shakib's bowling.
But Rohit continued to plunder runs -- he stepped out to deposit Mashrafe over long-off for his second six followed by a one bounce four off a pull shot and followed it up with a picture perfect cover drive.
India had lost opener Shikhar Dhawan (2), Virat Kohli (8) and Suresh Raina (12) early as they were reduced to 42 for three before Rohit did the star turn.
Veteran Ashish Nehra, who took three for 23 in his four overs, was literally unplayable with his variations as well as brisk pace that he generated.
Interestingly, Jasprit Bumrah, Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin all registered identical figures of one for 23 in four overs as Bangladesh never really threatened with the bat at any stage.
It was a welcome victory for India and their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Bangladesh soil after their disastrous ODI series loss, last year.
Nehra made the first breakthrough when he got one to swing back to castle right-handed opener Mohammed Mithun (1), while Soumya Sarkar got one from Bumrah that kicked up a bit more kissing his gloves before Dhoni pouched on it gleefully. Bangladesh were 15 for two at that stage.
Imrul Kayes (14) was removed by Ashwin with Yuvraj Singh taking a good catch at deep fine leg.
Once Shakib Al Hasan (3) was run-out after trying to steal a single, Bangladesh could never really recover.
Too many dot balls only added to the pressure as Dhoni kept the accurate Jadeja for the rear part of the Bangladesh innings. Once Shabbir Rahman (44) was out, the match was all but over as the fans started leaving the stadium.
India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their second match of the tournament on Saturday, while Bangladesh will look to get back to winning ways when take on minnows United Arab Emirates on Friday.