Virat Kohli scored unbeaten 103 runs as India beat Bangladesh.© AFP
The legend of Virat Kohli continued to grow exponentially as he reached within handshaking distance of Sachin Tendulkar‘s world record of 49 hundreds during India’s walk-in-the-park seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in a World Cup game in Pune on Thursday. Kohli, who plans 50-over chases with a precision of a surgeon, remained unbeaten on 103 off 97 balls as India knocked off the 258-run target with as many as 51 balls remaining. India have now make it four wins out of four games and one more win would virtually put them in semi-finals.
While Kohli hit six fours and four sixes, it was his exemplary running between the wickets in pursuit of his 48th hundred that would be etched in the memory for the longest time.
But credit should also go to Ravindra Jadeja (2/38 in 10 overs) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/41 in 10 overs), who were exemplary covering all bases in absence of Hardik Pandya, who hobbled off the field after twisting his left ankle.
” Sorry for stealing it (the player of the Match award) from Jaddu. I wanted to make a big contribution. Have made fifties in World Cups, wanted to finish it off this time,” Kohli said after the match.
While skipper Rohit Sharma (48 off 40 balls) and Shubman Gill (53 off 55 balls) added 88 in just 12.4 overs to set up the chase, it was a cakewalk for Kohli at a venue, with which he shares an intimate relation.
If Rohit rattled the Bangladeshis with an all-out attack, Kohli bled them with thousand cuts, running those twos in the 90s with effortless ease, another testimony to his fitness.
Earlier, as has been the case with each of India’s opponents in the World Cup so far, scoring runs against arguably the best bowling attack in the competition proved a big ask for Bangladesh too, who managed a modest 256/8 on a batting-friendly surface.
In fact, Bangladesh squandered a terrific start which had them placed formidably at 90 for no loss after 14 overs, but India’s bowling once again came to fore on a featherbed here.
India lost Pandya as early as in the ninth over, when he tried to stop a straight drive off Litton Das‘ bat with his right foot and fell on the ground. Pandya received initial treatment on the field but as he began moving to his bowling mark, it became clear he would not continue and left the field subsequently.
With all options at his perusal, the fact that Rohit Sharma chose Virat Kohli to complete the injured Pandya’s over – with India still in search of first breakthrough – showed how assured India are with their bowling attack in this competition.
Kuldeep Yadav provided the first breakthrough and Ravindra Jadeja the second, as it was India all the way with Bangladesh going at under five runs per over after a robust beginning.
In fact, Jadeja’s was the standout performance with the all-rounder producing a measly 10-0-38-2 and a superb diving catch to dismiss Mushfiqur Rahim.
But the initial exchanges belonged to the young Tanzid Hasan, who struck a dazzling maiden fifty scoring 51 off 43 balls (5x4s, 3x6s). Litton Das made 82-ball 66 (7x4s), whereas Rahim’s 38 and a late charge from Mahmudullah (46, 36 balls, 3x4s, 3x6s) brought the Tigers their runs.
With no assistance from the surface, the task to make early inroads with the new ball appeared challenging even though Jasprit Bumrah (2/41) found some movement in the air.
After a watchful start Das took on Mohammed Siraj (2/60) in the sixth over, hitting two fours to get a move on and Tanzid pulled Bumrah over fine leg for the first six of the innings in the next.
The Bangladesh openers immediately pressed on the scoring rate as 53 runs came off the last five overs in the powerplay.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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