T20 World Cup 2024, BAN vs IND 47th Match, Super Eights, Group 1 Match Report, June 22, 2024

India 196 for 5 (Hardik 50*, Tanzim 2-32) beat Bangladesh 146 for 8 (Shanto 40, Kuldeep 3-19, Bumrah 2-13) by 50 runs

By the time India wakes up on Sunday, it is possible their team might have qualified for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2024. They were too good for Bangladesh in Antigua, a total of 196 built by series of quickfire cameos in defiance of a slow pitch carrying them through to victory by 50 runs. If Australia beat Afghanistan, both they and India will move into the final four.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as a partnership has won many a match for India, but at this T20 World Cup, they are yet to click. There was even a moment’s confusion when they were running between the wickets, Rohit unsure of whether there was a single on to midwicket’s right. It was stop-start but they eventually got the run. The team will hope the same thing happens to them as the tournament goes on because pairing them together at the top of the order is allowing India to pack their middle order with six-hitters. That advantage is helping them post par-plus totals in tough conditions.

Tanzim Hasan did as much as he could to mess with that plan. He was Bangladesh’s best bowler and he earned that mantle by doing the one thing a big-hitter hates. He was unpredictable. Kohli came charging to meet him but he did the batter with change of pace and let him have it with a send-off. Suryakumar Yadav managed to get a six away first ball but was overwhelmed by extra bounce the next delivery. Tanzim’s slower balls gripped and misbehaved off the pitch. And when he went on-pace, he made sure to hit the pitch hard to extract variation in bounce.

Rishabh Pant was the firestarter. After India went from 71 for 1 to 77 for 3, they suffered nine balls without a boundary. Sometimes, in good batting conditions, that’s the price you pay. These weren’t good batting conditions. The pitch and the outfield were slow. They couldn’t wait till the death overs to make up the difference. Fully aware of that, Pant, who was 12 off 15, burst to life. A left-hander’s cover drive is usually a thing of beauty but the one that Mustafizur had to endure was something else. It was power stripped to its purest essence. It was chilling. Pant hit five boundaries in eight balls and fell looking for another one.

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Rishad Hossain will no longer be denied. Having had to wait because the culture in Bangladesh does not rate wristspinners, (even as the rest of the world made it plain they were game-changers) he has arrived at this T20 World Cup as their most exciting cricketer. His dismissal of Pant secured Bangladesh their best period of play in this game – 2.4 overs of singles and dots between the 12th and the 15th. He took two wickets as well, both of batters looking to attack him. Pant caught off the reverse sweep and Dube bowled neck and crop. He may have given a few runs away but he never took a backward step. Not even when he had to bowl one of the death overs.

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