DAMBULLA (SRI LANKA), June 16 (PTI): India’s quest for the Asia Cup got off to a perfect start with the title contenders steamrolling Bangladesh by six wickets in a lop-sided match and also pocketing a bonus point here today.
Virender Sehwag emerged as India’s unlikely bowling hero with his first four-wicket haul, while his Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir (82) struck his 20th ODI half-century as India cruised to a facile win at a strikingly empty Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.
Having skittled out Bangladesh for a meagre 167 inside 35 overs, India had a modest total to chase and they overwhelmed the target with 19.2 overs to spare to collect a bonus point from this resounding victory.
The Indians will have to beat either Pakistan (June 19) or defending champions Sri Lanka (June 22) by a convincing margin to qualify for the June 24 final.
India injected artificial life into the lop-sided match when Virat Kohli (11) and Rohit Sharma (0) fell to successive deliveries from Shakib Al Hasan in the 15th over.
However, Gautam Gambhir (82), who enjoyed a reprieve at 48 off Shafiul Islam, and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (38 not out) ensured that four-time champions sailed home without much ado.
Sehwag (11 off 14 balls) failed to fire as a batsman on his return to international from injury but amply showed that he could be employed as an off-break bowler when either Harbhajan Singh or Ravindra Jadeja have a lean day.
Given the ball as Dhoni desperately needed a part-time bowler to cover up for an injured Ashish Nehra (2 for 28), Sehwag struck successive blows to decimate a listless Bangladesh.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal c Raina b Kumar 22, Imrul Kayes c Sehwag b Nehra 37, Mohammad Ashraful c Kumar b Nehra 20, Mushfiqur Rahim c Dhoni b Sehwag 30, Shakib Al Hasan b Harbhajan Singh 7, Mahmudullah c Dhoni b Jadeja 23, Naeem Islam c Dhoni b Sharma 3, Suhrawadi Shuvo lbw b Sehwag 4, Mashrafe Mortaza not out 0, Shafiul Islam lbw b Sehwag 0, Syed Rasel b Sehwag 0. Extras: (LB-2, W-19) 21. Total: (all out in 34.5 overs) 167. Fall of wickets: 1-35, 2-81, 3-88, 4-100, 5-155, 6-160, 7-167, 8-167, 9-167, 10-167. Bowling: Praveen Kumar 7-0-38-1, Zaheer Khan 5-1-29-0, Ashish Nehra 4-0-28-2, Harbhajan Singh 7-0-32-1, Ravindra Jadeja 8-0-27-1, Virender Sehwag 2.5-0-6-4, Rohit Sharma 1-0-5-1.
India: Gautam Gambhir lbw b Mortaza 82, Virender Sehwag c Mushfiqur Rahim b Mortaza 11, Virat Kohli st Mushfiqur Rahim b Shakib 11, Rohit Sharma lbw b Shakib 0, Mahendra Singh Dhoni not out 38, Suresh Raina not out 1. Extras: (B-4, LB-6, W-15) 25. Total: (for 4 wickets in 30.4 overs) 168. Fall of wickets: 1-37, 2-80, 3-80, 4-158. Bowling: Mortaza 5.4-0-37-2, Syed Rasel 5-0-25-0, Shakib Al Hasan 10-0-49-2, Shafiul Islam 6-0-26-0, Suhrawadi Shuvo 4-0-21-0.