Colombo: On a tough pitch where very few of his teammates clicked with the bat, opener Shubman Gill stood tall to hit his fifth ODI century, a sparkling 121 off 133 balls. But it went in vain as Bangladesh edged India by six runs in a thrilling Asia Cup Super Four match at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Friday.
After captain Shakib Al Hasan and Towhid Hridoy hit half-centuries before the lower-order batters stepped up in carrying Bangladesh to 265/8, Tanzim Hasan Sakib took 2-32 on debut before the four-man spin attack relied on turn and bounce from the pitch to apply the choke on India.
Though Gill hit eight fours and five sixes in a masterful knock, and Axar Patel made a quick 42 off 34 balls at the fag end, it was not enough as India were bowled out for 259 in 49.5 overs, with Mustafizur Rahman taking three wickets as Bangladesh signed off from the competition on a high.
Chasing 266, India were dealt two big blows by Tanzim in the first three overs. On his outswinger, captain Rohit Sharma chipped an early drive straight to cover-point, while Tilak Varma’s debut innings ended with him shouldering arms for an away-going delivery, only for the ball to come in and hit the stumps.
Gill was proficient in getting on top of the bounce to cut, drive and punch with precision, while KL Rahul was deep in the crease to execute his cut shots well. But he was soon stuck at the crease and in a bid to break free, whipped straight to mid-wicket off Mahedi Hasan.
Gill then danced down the pitch against Mahedi in the 20th over to heave him over mid-wicket for six and reach his half-century in style. But he was losing partners from the other end as Ishan Kishan missed a reverse sweep and was trapped plumb lbw by Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
Suryakumar Yadav majorly used the sweep shot in his 34-ball stay, which also fetched him two boundaries, as Bangladesh’s spinners stepped up in stemming the run-flow. But the usage of sweep also made him very predictable and caused his downfall when he was cast by Shakib Al Hasan in an attempt to sweep again.
Gill showed signs of change in gears when he danced down the pitch to slam Shakib for two sixes over the long-on fence, even as Ravindra Jadeja was castled after he completely missed the ball on a cross-bat hoick. Gill eventually got his hundred in 117 balls with a brace through deep mid-wicket and took back-to-back fours off Tanzim, followed by heaving Mahedi for six.
But on the very next ball, Mahedi pitched the ball slower and outside the off-stump, on which Gill lofted, but holed out to long-off. Axar, who survived an LBW appeal, kept India in the hunt by pulling and heaving Nasum for four and six respectively.
He followed it up by lofting Mahedi down the ground for a four and six respectively in the 48th over. But Rahman turned the game on its head in the next over, as Thakur clipped a full-toss to square leg and Axar holed out to long-off just after hitting a four, enough to ensure a Bangladesh victory.
Earlier, at 59/4, Bangladesh were in tatters. Shakib stepped up with his calculative play to top-score with 80 and shared a 101-run partnership with Hridoy, who made a lovely 54.
The lower-order of Nasum, Mahedi and Tanzim were impressive in hitting 44, 29 not out and 14 not respectively against an Indian bowling line-up minus Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj.
Pushed into batting first, Tanzid Hasan smashed three beautiful boundaries, two of which were back-to-back well-timed drives against Shardul. Mohammed Shami brought India’s first breakthrough by getting the ball to move in off the seam and cast Litton Das through the gate.
In the next over, Shardul dismissed Tanzid, who dragged onto his stumps while trying to pull a short ball. Anamul Haque Bijoy, playing in his first ODI since December 2022, became Shardul’s second victim when he top-edged a pull to Rahul.
India could have got Bangladesh into more trouble in the 10th over if Tilak and Suryakumar hadn’t dropped catches to get Mehidy out off Shardul’s bowling. Four overs later, Mehidy pushed at a turning-away delivery from Axar and edged to Rohit at slip moving to his right.
While Shakib held one end up with his drives and sweeps, Hridoy was quick to be aggressive by smacking Tilak for a brace of sixes over long-on and deep mid-wicket. Axar found more turn, but Hridoy got an outside edge between keeper and slip going for four.
Shakib also got an edge off Jadeja for four and danced down the pitch to smack Axar for two sixes, one of which fetched him his 55th ODI fifty. He then got a lucky edge past the keeper for four and nailed the slog-sweep off Jadeja for six. Hridoy followed it up by hitting back-to-back fours off Shardul as the 100-run partnership came between him and Shakib.
But on the first ball after the drinks break, Shardul struck immediately as Shakib chopped onto his stumps, followed by Jadeja trapping Shamim Hossain lbw to get his 200th ODI scalp. Hridoy marched forward to reach his fifty by using Axar’s pace to place the shot past backward point for four, before holing out to deep mid-wicket for Shami.
Bangladesh’s quest of touching 250 looked in danger, but Nasum, Mahedi and Tanzim brought out an impressive display of stroke play to add 87 runs collectively and take the team to a winning total.
Bangladesh 265/8 in 50 overs (Shakib Al Hasan 80, Towhid Hridoy 54; Shardul Thakur 3-65, Mohammed Shami 2-32) beat India 259 all out in 49.5 overs (Shubman Gill 121, Axar Patel 42; Mustafizur Rahman 3-50, Tanzim Hasan Sakib 2-32) by six runs