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Sehwag, Kohli thrash Bangladesh in WC opener

Last updated on: February 19, 2011 22:59 IST

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Just ahead of the World Cup Virender Sehwag promised that he would come up with something in the tournament he  hitherto hadn't in an ODI: carry his bat through the innings.

The opener kept his promise. Well, almost!

The 32-year-old was dismissed with just 15 balls left in the Indian innings. But, by then, he had done enough damage with a spectacular 175 to ensure an uphill task for Bangladesh.

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To their credit t the home side kept pace early on in their chase, but, in the final analysis, chasing 371 proved to be a tough ask. 

For the record, India beat Bangladesh by 87 runs in the opening match of the 10th ICC World Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, to start the tournament, where they are among the favourites, on an emphatic note.

Virender SehwagChasing a mammoth 371 to win, the hosts could only muster 283 for nine in their stipulated 50 overs.

Munaf Patel was India's most successful bowler with figures of four for 48.

The win also meant they extracted revenge for their shocking reversal at the hands of the same opponents in the Caribbean four years back.

It was the Men in Blue's sixth successive win over the Tigers in Mirpur -- they are yet to lose one -- and their eighth overall in 11 matches.

It was a match that defied many existing norms.

Of the 43 matches played in Mirpur, this was only the 16th instance when the team batting first triumphed. On the remaining occasions, the match went in favour of  the team batting second.

It was also only the fourth time (in 17 matches) in a day-night game at the venue that the team batting first won.

Besides, Sehwag's fantabulous 175 -- for which he was adjudged the man of the match -- the fast improving Virat Kohli also contributed significantly to the Indian cause, with an unbeaten 100.

The duo put together 203 for the third wicket -- the fourth instance of an Indian pair putting up a double century partnership in the World Cup.

India innings: (370 for four in 50 overs)

It was a good toss to lose.

MS Dhoni hasn't been fortunate with the coin of late. And against Bangladesh on Saturday it was no different either.

However, his teammates ensured he had no regrets for the same by putting up an aggressive batting display -- scoring a mammoth 370 for four in their stipulated 50 overs.

On the other hand, his opposite number (Shakib Al Hasan) called correctly. But the toss was the only thing that went right for him today. His decision to field first boomeranged on his side.

A formidable Indian batting line-up, led by the swashbuckling Virender Sehwag, ensured the home side had an almost impossible task at hand when they come out to bat.

The 32-year-old further bolstered his reputation as a aggressive strokemaker with a flamboyant 175, his 140-ball innings inclusive of 14 hits to the fence and five over it.

It was Sehwag's 14th ODI hundred but only his second in the World Cup -- after his 114 against Bermuda at Port of Spain four years back.

In the process he became the third Indian, and 13th batsman overall, to score 10 or more tons in neutral venues.

The fast-improving Virat Kohli played a perfect second fiddle, scoring an impressive 100 not out, his 83-ball knock consisting of eight boundaries and two over-boundaries (as the commentators call it).

It was Kohli's fifth ODI hundred in his short but so far impressive career. 

And he and Sehwag put together a mammoth 203 runs (in just 24.1 overs) for the third wicket to take the game beyond Bangladesh.

By the time Sehwag was cleaned up by Shakib (in the 48th over), the writing was on the wall for the host nation.

In fact, if partnerships help construct an innings, then India benefitted from a plethora of them -- the opening wicket stand (Sachin Tendulkar (28) and Sehwag) yielded 69 runs, another 83 was accumulated for the second wicket (Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir (39) and then there was the Sehwag -- Kohli effort for the third.

The Bangladesh bowlers were neither allowed to settle down nor allowed to capitalize on the few breakthroughs that they managed.

To his credit, Shakib kept rotating his bowlers, trying his darndest best to unsettle the Indian batsmen. Only the latter didn't bite the bait.

For a team that upset the Indian applecart in the 2007 edition in the Caribbean, Bangladesh were expected to put up a far better show. Suffice to say they flattered to deceive.

It will take a lion heart to expect an encore of Port of Spain.  The most that even the hard core Bangladeshi fans can expect is that there team puts up a fight, instead of succumbing tamely in face of the mammoth target that they require to chase. 

Bangladesh innings: (283 for nine in 50 overs)

Chasing an improbable total, the hosts began on an aggressive note.

The opening pair -- Tamim Iqbal (70) and Imrul Kayes (34) -- put together a quickfire 56, the latter scoring at a faster pace.

Kayes was particularly severe on Sreesanth, hitting the Kerala speedster six times to the fence, including four in one over.

However, just when the partnership looked to threaten, Munaf provided India the breakthrough by cleaning up Kayes.

Junaid Siddiqui (37) announced his arrival with a massive six off Munaf over deep square leg, a shot that witnessed Yusuf crashing into the fence while tracking it.

He and Tamim added another 73 runs for the second wicket. However, they failed to keep up the pace (the required rate). It is at this juncture that Bangladesh lost its second wicket. 

Junaid too lost his wicket owing to impatience, Harbhajan having him stumped.

The ever-dependable Tamim was then joined by his captain Shakib (55) and the duo put together 53 runs for the third wicket.

Tamim, who had a relatively slow start and was not looking his usual self, nevertheless registered his 17th ODI fifty, his second in the World Cup -- his first being a match-winning effort against India at Port of Spain in 2007.

However, the re-introduction of Munaf in the 33rd over ensured the dismissal of Tamim and dented the home side's hopes considerably.

Tamim was caught by Yuvraj at midwicket. His 86-ball 70 was inclusive of three hits to the fence and one over it.

Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim (25) added a further 50 runs for the fourth wicket -- the former reaching his 18th ODI fifty in the process.

However, their dismissal in quick succession all but ended Bangladesh's hopes. With five wickets down, and still needing 123 runs (off just 45 balls), it was just a matter of time before the home team's innings folded.

It was a tough task to begin with. And the Bangladesh batsmen did themselves no favour by letting the required rate go out of bounds.

On second thoughts, it might have been an interesting strategy -- of reducing the margin of defeat so that their net run rate (if rand when required) remains favourable.

Whatever be the case, it ensured India their revenge.

And a rather emphatic one at that.

Bikash Mohapatra