India inch closer to semis after nervy win vs. Bangladesh





Reuters

Inaugural champions India have stepped into the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup after their nervy five-point win over Bangladesh in a rain-stricken Group 2 in Adelaide on Wednesday.

Virat Kohli shot an unbeaten 64 to maintain his scorching form and KL Rahul (50) ended his running drought by sending India down 184-6 at the Adelaide Oval.

Chasing a revised target of 151 in 16 overs following a rain break, Bangladesh looked on course with Litton Das (60) playing big guns but his outing disturbed his side who eventually finished on 145-6.

India topped Group 2 with six points, one ahead of South Africa who played one less game.

“Shortened games can go either way…but we held our nerves pretty well when the game started after the break,” India captain Rohit Sharma said.

“Some of the takes we took today under pressure, it was great to watch.”

Batting, India didn’t have the best of starts with Taskin Ahmed proving a good handful even though the setter went wicketless.

Hasan Mahmud (3-47) dropped Rohit from deep but almost immediately made amends by firing the batter for two.

Kohli, who was voted Player of the Match, didn’t look convincing initially but quickly found himself in his element, while Rahul also looked very in touch at the other end.

Scoring 4,9,9 in his previous three matches, Rahul was under pressure to justify his selection and the fly-half responded by pummeling four sixes en route to a 31-ball fifty as India reached 86- 2 halfway through.

Suryakumar Yadav played a typically windy 30-for-16 on a day when he replaced Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan as the top-rated T20 hitter.

Kohli sped up in the penultimate set, scoring his third fifty in four sets and also passed Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene as the best run-getter in tournament history.

Litton gave Bangladesh a flying start by scoring 56 of his team’s 60 points in the first six overs on the power play.

He ran for 50 from 21 before rain stopped play with Bangladesh on 66 for no loss after seven overs.

When play resumed with a revised target, Das was beaten by Rahul’s straight throw from deep midwicket and it sparked a batting meltdown.

Bangladesh needed 20 from last on Arshdeep Singh and Nurul Hasan hit a six and a four but it wasn’t enough in the end.

“That was history when we played against India. We are almost there but we never cross the finish line,” lamented Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan.

“It was a great game, the crowd enjoyed it and both teams enjoyed it.

“At the end of the day, someone has to win and someone has to lose.”

Earlier, Zimbabwe’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals effectively evaporated after their five-wicket loss to the Netherlands.

Zimbabwe were all out for 117 in 19.2 with only Sikander Raza (40) and Sean Williams (28) reaching double digits.

Max O’Dowd led the Dutch response with 52 and Tom Cooper made it 32 as the Dutch side, who have already gone down, recorded their first Super 12 victory with two overs to spare.

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