Sakib, Saifuddin’s fights go in vain

Sakib al Hasan and Mohammad Saifuddin struck fifties after Mustafizur Rahman claimed five wickets as Bangladesh put a valiant fight but came only second best against India in the World Cup in Birmingham on Tuesday. The Tigers lost the contest by 28 runs to end their semi-final hopes and make their final game against Pakistan at Lord’s on July 5 only a routine affair for them.
Set a target of 315 runs, Saifuddin came from almost nowhere to give India a big scare, hitting an unbeaten 51 runs in a stunning effort that took Bangladesh very close.
Jasprit Bumrah claimed two wickets in two balls to fold Bangladesh for 286 runs with two overs still to bat, leaving Saifuddin stranded at the non-striking end.
Bumrah finished with 4-55 as India became second team after Australia to join the semi-final while England, New Zealand and Pakistan were left to fight for the remaining two slots.
Virat Kohli’s men owed their win to opening batsman Rohit Sharma, who made the most of a dropped catch by Tamim Iqbal on nine to hit his third consecutive century against Bangladesh in an ICC event.
Sharma’s 104 off 94 balls, backed up with 180-run opening stand with Lokesh Rahul, who made 77 runs, guided India to 314-9 in 50 overs, despite Mustafiz snapping 5-59.
Bangladesh had the target within their reach and all they needed was the kind of effort that saw them knocking off a similar target against West Indies in Taunton.
However, unlike West Indies, India got a strong bowling line-up with enough variety, which did not allow the Bangladeshi batsmen to develop any significant partnership.
Tamim was unable to make amendment for his fielding blunder, dragging one onto his stumps for 22 runs, his repeated mode of dismissal, while Soumya Sarkar wasted another start to get perished for 33.
Mushfiqur Rahim dropped a hint of fight only to sweep leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to Mohammad Shami at square leg after making a fluent 24 off 23 balls.
Sakib, who brought up his fourth half century of the tournament with two runs from Hardik Pandya, was cut into a lone warrior after Liton Das departed for 22 failing to repeat his Taunton heroics.
No Indian bowler looked particularly threatening for Bangladesh but the pressure of soaring required run rate got the better of batsmen and Sakib also proved he was also not immune to that.
Pandya ended Sakib’s fighting innings at 66 for his third wicket after the Bangladesh talisman faced 74 balls and struck six fours in another sublime innings.
Sakib’s fifty took him only behind Sachin Tendulkar’s seven in 2003 for most fifty-plus innings in a single edition of World Cup but Bangladesh needed more than this to stay alive.
Sabbir Rahman (36) and Saifuddin came with their late fight after his untimely dismissal but odds were always against them.
While Sabbir was more experienced of the duo, it was actually Saifuddin who took India off guard, before Bumrah came to their rescue.
Asked to field first, Bangladesh also showed some fight with the ball thanks to Mustafiz, who completed his first five-wicket haul in four years to keep the target achievable.
India threatened to run riot after Sharma made Bangladesh pay for Tamim blunder to bring his fourth century of the tournament off 90 balls.
Bangladesh required the help of part-timer Soumya to bring an end to Sharma’s onslaught as he forced the opener to give a catch at cover to Liton.
Rubel Hossain, playing his second match, removed other opener Rahul before Mustafiz’s two wickets in one over changed the course of the game.
Mustafiz had Virat Kohli caught by Rubel at square leg for 26 in the second ball of his sixth over and then handed Hardik Pandya a second-ball duck in the same over.
Sakib al Hasan slowed down India’s run rate by removing dangerous looking Rishabh Pant, who made 48 off 41 balls.
India were hoping for Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni to provide a late impetus but Mustafiz had other idea.
He took a top-edge from Karthik to send back India’s World Cup debutant for eight before he dismissed Dhoni in the final over.
When Mustafiz bowled Shami in the final ball of the innings he became only the second bowler from Bangladesh to take five wickets in a World Cup match.

-With New Age input

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