Marauding Sehwag spearheads India’s rollicking show

By Sirshendu Panth, IANS
Saturday, February 19, 2011

DHAKA - Indias dashing batsman Virender Sehwag destroyed the Bangladesh attack with a flawless 175 as the visitors piled up a huge total to give the Cricket World Cup an electrifying start here Saturday.

Young Virat Kohli also cracked an unbeaten 100 on his Cup debut, as India reached 370 for four in 50 overs to set Bangladesh a tough asking rate of 7.42 before a capacity crowd of around 25,000 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.

Playing his third World Cup, the Delhi dasher plundered runs at will during his 200-minute stay at the middle, sending the leather to all ends of the park and giving an ominous signal to Indias rivals in the coming matches.

Sehwags 140-ball stint comprised 14 boundaries and five huge sixes, as he defied an injury and batted with a runner to notch up his personal best ODI score and second hundred in 15 World Cup matches. He reached his century with a single off spinner Mohammad Mahmudullah in 94 balls, and took only 30 more to get to his maiden 150.

Sehwags innings finally came to an end in the 48th over when he inside edged onto his stumps a delivery from Bangladesh captain Sakib-al Hassan, who had earlier put India in after winning the toss. India were then 355 for three, a position of strength, and Sehwag had more than done his duty. He pulled a hamstring and needed a runner to complete his innings.

Twentytwo-year-old Virat Kohli (83 balls, 8×4, 2×6) never looked in any spot of bother, as he clobbered the venomless Bangladesh bowling to smithereens during his 83-ball innings and put on 203 runs for the third wicket with Sehwag.

The Indian innings was built around two other partnerships involving Sehwag - 60 for the first-wicket with Tendulkar (28) and 83 for the second with Gautam Gambhir (39).

The World Cup began with a boundary as Sehwag drove pacer Shafiul Islam on the backfoot to the cover fence off the first ball and dispatched him for another boundary in the last ball to pick up 12 from the over.

It was an indication of things to come, and Tendulkar and Sehwag batted freely till the stand was broken, thanks to a horrible mix-up. Tendulkar played Abdur Razzak towards mid-on and set out for a single, but Sehwag simply was clueless about his partners intentions as he was following the ball. The two batsmen were in the same end when Bangladesh captain Sakib-al Hassan picked up and threw the ball to wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahim, who did the rest.

Gambhir and Sehwag carried on from there, getting India past the 100-mark before the left-handed batsman failed to read a Mahmudullah ball, missed the flight, and was bowled between bat and pad, triggering huge cheers in the stands. Gambhir hit three fours in his run-a-ball innings.

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