FATULLAH // Captain Virat Kohli cracked a stylish 19th one-day international century in guiding India to a six-wicket victory over Bangladesh yesterday.
Kohli anchored a typical chase under lights with a solid 136 and found an apt foil in Ajinkya Rahane (73), with whom he added 213 for the third wicket that saw them chase down 280 in 49 overs.
Kohli ensured India did not miss regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was missing because of a left side strain, by smashing 16 fours and two sixes in his dominating knock.
India reached 280 for four after Bangladesh scored 279 for seven, with captain Mushfiqur Rahim (117) and Anamul Haque (77) notching the bulk of the runs.
Abdur Razzak felt Bangladesh had enough runs on the board but it was not easy to defend the total in moist conditions.
“The dew caused problems and we had not anticipated that,” the all-rounder said.
“Mushfiqur has improved a lot and he is playing very well for the team. We will have to push a little bit more batting first.”
Kohli took some deliveries to settle in on a pitch that played a little slow and low when India batted, but mostly scored at a run-a-ball.
Kohli, considered the captain in waiting, delayed the middle order being tested in the absence of Dhoni as well as experienced left-handers Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, who were not selected for the tournament.
Kohli was dismissed just 13 runs off the target when pace bowler Rubel Hossain bowled him off a yorker. Rahane holed out in the deep five runs later but the dismissals were too late for Bangladesh to fight back.
“It was very important for someone like Ajinkya to bat through the innings,” Kohli said. “He’s a very positive guy, works very hard. So it was good for us to stay together till the end.”
Rahane was content playing second fiddle to Kohli as the partnership grew after the pair came together at 54 for two with both openers dismissed.
Earlier, Rahim and Haque also came together at a tricky time for Bangladesh, at 49-2.
Rahim struck seven fours and two sixes, featuring in a 133-run, third-wicket partnership with Haque. It was the second ODI century for Rahim, the previous being 101 against Zimbabwe at Harare in 2011.
Rahim took control of the middle overs with ease as he rotated the strike cleverly and also came up with some lusty blows to unsettle the Indian attack.
He took 104 balls for his century and 113 for his total, losing his wicket in the final over at deep midwicket.
Haque, too, was impressive, striking five fours and three sixes off 106 deliveries. Haque was out when he sent a full-length delivery from Aaron off the inside edge on to the stumps.
Aaron also got stick from Rahim, who hit him for 16 runs off the first four deliveries of an over including a six over square leg, before the pace bowler let go a beamer that hit Rahim on the chest when the batsman was on 80.
Aaron was not allowed to bowl again for dangerous play since it was his second full toss above waist height during the innings.
Shami was the most successful bowler, bagging four for 50 and curtailing the home side’s scoring in the final overs.
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