Bangladesh showed just how potent an ODI side they are nowadays, putting on a competitive total with the bat, before completely overwhelming the much-vaunted India batting lineup with the ball to script a monumental victory in the 1st one-day international in Mirpur.
If Bangladesh play like this for the remaining two ODI matches of the series as well, this could turn out to be an embarrassing tour for India, who collapsed from 95/0 to 128/5, while chasing 308, to completely lose their way and the match to a spirited home side, who bowled with heart and fire.
Bangladesh finished their batting innings on 307 all out in 49.4 overs, courtesy half-centuries from Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar and Shakib Al Hasan and an enterprising 41 from Sabbir Rahman. On a belter of a Shere Bangla wicket, it looked like the score was below par, especially with the batting lineup that India possess in sub-continental conditions.
However, after a strong start from Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, India crumbled quicker than the proverbial cookie to cave in for 228 for 46 overs, with debutant Mustafizur Rahman leading the way with stunning five-for.
The Bangladesh bowlers, with four quicks in tow, started really well, causing quite a bit of trouble to both the India openers as the ball moved around a bit under the lights. However, once the batsmen, Rohit in particular, survived the early onslaught from 19-year-old Mustafizur and 20-year-old Taskin Ahmed, India started to take control, with the boundaries flowing a lot easier off the bat.
Bangladesh didn't help their cause either by dropping Dhawan (30, 38b, 3x4) twice in the space of a few deliveries – Mushfiqur the culprit on both occasions – but it didn't come back to haunt them as much as it should have, with the left-hander gloving one to Mushfiqur off the impressive Taskin.
The young Bangladesh fast bowler would then go on to pick up the prized wicket of Virat Kohli (1, 4b), who hung his bat out to a short and wide delivery and only managed an outside edge.
Suddenly from a cruise-mode 95/0, India found themselves in a spot of bother at 101/2, with the pressure only increasing as Ajinkya Rahane struggled to score a single run off his first 10 balls.
That, in turn, put the pressure on Rohit (63, 68b, 4x4, 1x6) to score, and the result was a false stroke off the bowling of Mustafizur, who picked up his first ever wicket in ODI cricket. The left-arm pace bowler would follow that up with the wicket of Rahane (9, 25b, 1x4), before the match swung Bangladesh's way completely as Shakib Al Hasan found the outside edge of MS Dhoni.
At 128/5, needing 180 from 24.3 overs, the match was over with Mustafizur (9.2-1-50-5), coming back after being nearly knocked out by Dhoni, to pick up three more wickets – of Suresh Raina (40, 40b, 1x4, 2x6), R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja (32, 42b, 2x4) -- to complete a dream debut.
Earlier, Bangladesh recovered from a mini-collapse of their own to post the challenging total. The home team were in a strong position of 119/1 in 15.4 overs – thanks to wonderful half-centuries from Soumya Sarkar and Tamim Iqbal -- before rain interrupted play – for just over an hour.
Once play resumed after the rain, though, it was R Ashwin time, as the offspinner (10-0-51-3) picked up three wickets in quick succession to stop the Bangladesh charge. Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Ahmed did really well to ensure there would be no collapse, with their 83-run partnership ensuring Bangladesh would reach an eventually-more-than-enough 307 all out in 49.4 overs – their highest score against India.
Sarkar (54, 40b, 8x4, 1x6) and Tamim walked in to bat after Bangladesh, who selected two debutants in Litton Das and Mustafizur, elected to bowl first, and after a reasonably circumspect beginning, they found their groove in over number 6, with Umesh Yadav carved for 18 runs by Tamim (60, 62b, 7x4, 1x6).
It might have been different had Shikhar Dhawan managed to get his hands under an outside edge which skipped past him at slips and for four for the first boundary of the over – it was a difficult chance, but the kind you feel a really good slip fielder would have just got under – with Tamim only growing in confidence from there, as a couple more boundaries flowed, before the over was finished off with a tonk over the offside for a six.
The next three overs produced 31 runs – 10, 11, 10 – with even Ashwin not able to quell the flow of runs as Soumya Sarkar also found his boundary-hitting mojo. Sarkar is a graceful batsman when in full flow, and in full flow he certainly was as the India bowlers failed to stop the runs on a pitch that had very little on offer in terms of movement of real turn.
At the end of the Powerplay, Bangladesh were on a supreme 79/0, and well on course for a total of way over 300. The openers hit the team 100-run mark in the first ball of the 14th over, but, unfortunately, for the home team, that would also be the over which would see Sarkar lose his wicket.
A yes-no, yes-no situation after a drop to the legside saw Soumya Sarkar (54, 40b, 8x4, 1x6) caught well out of his crease at the non-striker's end and there was the irrepressible Suresh Raina, who also bowled his full quota of ten overs, giving away just 40 runs, to underarm a direct hit and give India a much-needed breakthrough.
Litton Das came in and only had an opportunity to play four balls before the elements decided to rain on Bangladesh's parade. That parade looked more glum as Ashwin took control, sending Tamim, Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim back pretty quickly to put Bangladesh on a perilous 146/4.
However, Shakib and Sabbir did really well to stitch together a partnership, showing yet again how much this Bangladesh side have come of age. A few years back, in such a situation, the home team would have more often than not crumbled, but not this vintage.
Shakib (52, 68b, 3x4) and Sabbir (41, 44b, 5x4, 1x6) played intelligent cricket, picking up boundaries whenever on offer to keep that run rate hovering around the 6-run mark. That meant, even after the two got out, there was enough runs in the kitty to ensure the score would cross that always-essential-nowadays-in-ODI-cricket 300-run mark, even if only 62 runs came off the final 58 balls of the innings.
The way the India batting performed, though, it proved to be enough, and more and that Champions Trophy place looks ever closer now for Bangladesh.