IMAGES from the Asia Cup Super 4 match played between India and Bangladesh in Colombo on Friday.
Shubman Gill gave an awesome display of his talent while registering his fifth ODI hundred, but Bangladesh managed to eke out an unexpected six-run win over India in an Asia Cup Super Four match in Colombo on Friday.
Gill's 121 off 133 balls was exceptional. But it was not enough to drag India past Bangladesh's 265 for 8, built around fifties by Shakib al Hasan (80) and Towhid Hridoy (54) after they were put into bat. India were bowled out for 259.
Axar Patel (42 off 34 balls) tried gamely to bring India back into the game with some heavy blows, but the target stayed just beyond India's grasp.
But in the tournament's context, the result did not matter as India have already booked a place in the final where they will face Sri Lanka on Sunday.
But the night belonged to Gill, despite the end result.
Gill's batting is all about timing and minimalism. He pulls but not with the flourish of Rohit Sharma, and he drives but not with the flair of Virat Kohli.
But Gill lends his own aesthetics and grace to his game. Sample this.
Shakib dropped one a bit short and Gill stepped out just enough to meet the ball in its pitch. It was not the shimmy of a ballet dancer, but the precise footwork of a boxer.
There was no explosive loft over covers that one would normally expect, but Gill ended the moment with a simple check drive that sailed for a six over wide long-off.
Gill did that twice in one over against off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz – once over long-on and the second time straight over the bowler's head.
The knock was remarkable also because Gill hardly received any support from the other end.
Apart from Gill none of the Indian batsmen looked part on this night, and they started the chase on a disastrous note.
Since Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya were among the five rested players, India needed heftier contributions from captain Rohit Sharma and the rest of the batters.
India also gave a break to pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
But the contributions from other batsmen never really arrived, as the highest partnership in India's innings was a 57 between Gill and KL Rahul for the third wicket.
India started the chase in a rocky manner as Rohit departed in the first over itself, perishing to Tanzim Hasan after a half-hearted, uppish drive.
Tilak Varma, who made his ODI debut in this match, shouldered arms to Tanzim only to see his stumps getting disturbed.
Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, who played one sweep shot too many, failed to get going against a plethora of Bangladesh spinners.
Among the ruins around him, Gill batted with a lot of composure. But his innings was destined to end as a study material to his unique batsmanship, rather than a catalyst to an Indian win.
He holed out in the deep off Mahedi Hasan.
Shakib Al Hasan and Towhid Hridoy exploited the reduced firepower in India's bowling attack to score half-centuries and guide Bangladesh to a healthy 265 for 8 in their Asia Cup Super Four match in Colombo on Friday.
Shakib played an innings that suited a captain, scoring 80 off 85 balls and Hridoy supported him with a stubborn 81-ball 54, after India put them to bat.
In the context of the tournament, the match did not carry much significance as India have already qualified for the final. They will face Sri Lanka in the summit clash on Sunday.
Hence on the periphery, it made sense that India rested five first-choice players in -- Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav.
It also gave India a chance to hand an ODI debut to Tilak Varma, while Mohammed Shami, Suryakumar Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Prasidh Krishna too got some game time.
But in the larger scheme of things, India achieved two goals. The performance was just enough to send a message to Sri Lanka about their readiness for the big day.
The performance of the fringe players might have come as an assurance to the team management about the availability of back-up for any eventuality, such as the continued uncertainty over Shreyas Iyer's fitness.
And none could have offered a happier omen to them than Shami's spell with the new ball. The veteran pacer started the day's proceedings on a cracking note, disturbing the stumps of Litton Das.
Shami made the ball move off the seam that tiny bit to beat Das, who failed to get behind the ball.
Thakur (3 for 65) too got into the act in his own style. He was the most expensive of India bowlers going over six runs an over, but kept chipping at Bangladesh line-up with a couple of wickets.
Shakib, who added 101 runs for the fifth wicket with Hridoy, made a confidence-boosting fifty for himself after struggling to make an impact recently.
The left-hander was severe on Axar Patel, hammering the left-arm spinner for two consecutive sixes, but there was not much support for him from the other end except for the young Hridoy.
The Shakib-Hridoy partnership also rescued Bangladesh from total disaster which they appeared to have headed at 59 for 4 in the 14th over.
But they could not expand their knocks as Shakib was cleaned up by Thakur, while Shami accounted for Hridoy.
However, Nasum Ahmed (44 off 45 balls) pushed Bangladesh past the 250-run mark as Indian bowlers lost some direction.
India could have brought the curtains down on Bangladesh's innings much quicker had they held on to three catches -- Suryakumar, Tilak and KL Rahul being the offenders.