Sehwag, Munaf set up Indian victory (Round up)

By Sirshendu Panth, IANS
Saturday, February 19, 2011

DHAKA - A flawless 175 from a rampaging Virender Sehwag backed by some disciplined bowling from Munaf Patel carried India to a 87-run win over Bangladesh in the opening game of the Cricket World Cup here Saturday.

Replying to India’s 370/4, Bangladesh could muster only 283/9, much to the disappointment of a capacity crowd of around 25,000 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here.

The emphatic victory enabled India avenge their shock defeat against the South Asian neighbour in the previous edition and gave a rousing start to their World Cup campaign ahead of big battles against powerful sides.

Riding on Sehwags heroics and Virat Kohil’s unbeaten century on his World Cup debut, India set Bangladesh a mountain of an asking rate of 7.42. Sehwag, who pulled a hamstring and had to take a runner, and Kohli (100 not out) put on 203 runs for the third wicket.

The Delhi dasher was also involved in 60-run stand with Sachiin Tendulkar (28) for the first wicket and 83 for the second with Gautam Gambhir (39).

The home side began promisingly, with attacking openers Tamim Iqbal (70; 86 balls, 3×4, 1×6) and Imrul Kayes (34 off 20 balls) trying to lead what could have been a heroic run chase, but lost their way in the middle overs, as they got weighed down by the rising asking rate, while Munaf (4/48) took crucial wickets.

Tamim and the Kayes plundered 56 runs in just 6.5 overs with the latter hitting seven fours.

However, Munaf saw the back of Kayes (34) by inducing an inside edge on to the stumps, as a hush fell on the stadium.

Junaid Siddique and Tamim were then involved in a 73-run stand, before Harbhajan Singh dismissed Siddique.

With the asking rate mounting close to nine per over, Bangladeshs slim hopes rested on captain Shakib-Al Hassan and Iqbal. The duo valiantly carried the battle into the opposition camp by scoring at over a run per ball, and was involved in another 50-plus partnership, but the left-handed openers wicket in the 33rd over proved the turning point of the game.

The Chittagong boy tried to hit Patel on the leg side but finished in the hands of Yuvraj Singh, who gleefully accepted the low offering at mid wicket.

Shakib (55) and Mushfiqur, who had done well with the bat in the World Cup match between the two side four years back, came together, but by then the match had slipped out of Bangladeshs hands.

Shakib got to his half-century with a single off Yuvraj, but fell in the very next over of Yusuf Pathan.

His departure triggered a middle order collapse as the galleries began to empty.

Earlier, Bangaldesh captain Shakib put India in after winning the toss. Sehwag, who just before the World Cup had said that he would like to stay longer at the crease, proved true to his word.

Sehwag gave a powerful start, and then anchored the innings in the middle overs to sustain the momentum before getting dismissed in the 47.3 overs.

He was ably assisted by young Virat Kohli, who cracked an unbeaten 100 on his Cup debut. Playing his third World Cup, Sehwag 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 India’s rivals in the coming matches.

Sehwag’s 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 in ODIs.

Sehwag’s innings finally came to an end when he inside edged onto his stumps a delivery from Shakib.

Twenty two-year-old Virat (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.

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