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70 Wickets in Seven Matches, Defending Champions India Cruise to Semi-Finals

india new odiNew Delhi, Friday, March 20 – Thursday came with immense happiness for Indian cricket fans who gear up to cheer their team and encourage them win the semi-finals and finals to defend ‘champions’ title. In the crowded Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, supporters of Bangladesh and India did their bit to keep the momentum high. Holding national flags and dressed in green and blue, the enthusiasm in cricket lovers was spellbinding.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni elected to bat first post winning the toss against the Tigers. His decision turned right given that his ‘playing XI’ put a total of 302 runs on the scoreboard that wasn’t easy at all to chase, especially for the group batting second. However, the way to reach at this spot required hundred percent focus.

India kicked off well in view of the fact that the opening duo Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan hit confident shots and accumulated 75 runs. But casual approach of the 29-year-old Delhi boy compelled him walk back into the dressing room after playing a small inning of 30 runs. Shakib Al Hasan gave Bangladesh a much-needed breakthrough, which brought them back in the game to a certain extent.

Rubel Hossain gave a quick shocker to the Indian camp by taking crucial wicket of destructive hitter Virat Kohli. The vice-captain was unable to accept he succumbed to a beautiful delivery so easily. The new batsman on the crease Ajinkya Rahane looked calm and composed. Viewers anticipated him to bring some stability. But after adding 19 runs into the team’s total, he fell short to Taskin Ahmed. Immediate departure of a player who could have sped up the pace of scoring runs brought disappointment in the people dressed in blue.

Run rate came much below that expected earlier. At a stage India seemed perfect to attain more than 350 runs. Bangladesh’s efforts to bounce back worked to some degrees and put a ceiling on Indians’ tempo to go for biggies. However, the duration of being happy did not last for long. Suresh Raina, who was awarded ‘man of the match’ in India vs. Zimbabwe contest in league matches, came to hold the fort along with Sharma. The dynamic cricketers built a partnership of 122 runs in 95 balls, almost hitting the final nail in the coffin for Bangladesh.

Despite the fact that Mashrafe Mortaza made him depart at 65 runs, which included 7 boundaries and a six, the job was done from the all-rounder already. Wicketkeeper batsman Dhoni only pocketed six runs of 11 balls. On a classy spell of Taskin Ahmed, he gave a simple catch to Nasir Hossain. But on the other hand, Sharma started to send the ball into the fences over and over again. Prior being dismissed by Ahmed in slog over, he struck 137 runs of 126 balls. His wonderful knock comprised 14 fours and three huge sixes. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin remained unbeaten at the scores of 23 of 10 balls and 3 runs of 3 balls, respectively. Jadeja finally came in form, creating trouble for the bowlers.

Putting considerable runs in the first innings, India were on a strong side while fielding. Indian bowling attack, which was criticized by nearly everyone before the World Cup tournament, was sharp and forced the rivals to succumb as early as possible. The opener Tamim Iqbal was sent back to the pavilion at a score of 25 after failing to read the mood of Umesh Yadav’s bowling. A brilliant catch by Captain Cool behind the wickets brought first distress for Bangladesh, who entered into top 8 for the first time.

Fielding side was brilliant and this was well exhibited by Jadeja whose terrific response made the Men in Blue earn their second wicket. Imrul Kayes had to leave at 5 thanks to Jadeja’s fielding in the third bowl of 7th over. Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah correspondingly scored 29 runs and 21 runs but nothing excellent was put forward by them since Mohammed Shami ended their play. Shikhar Dhawan astounding catch near the boundary will be remembered for several years to come. Thrice he caught the ball, ensuring India to smell victory. Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Bangladesh’s captain Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain were out at the scores of 10, 27, 30, 35, 1 and 0, respectively. Taskin Ahmed remained not out at 0.

By inflicting a 109-run defeat on the opponents, India booked a berth to semi-final wherein they will have to play against one among Pakistan and Australia on Thursday, March 26. Team efforts helped India get 70 wickets is 7 matches during this cricket carnival that is unique in various ways. Now, audiences show hope in Dhoni’s men and believe they ‘won’t give it back’.

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