WORLD T20: Hardik, Kuldeep push India closer to semi-final berth with big win over Bangladesh

SUMMARY: India 196-5 from 20 overs (Hardik Pandya 50, Virat Kohli 37, Rishabh Pant 36, Shivam Dube 34; Tanzim Hasan Sakib 2-32, Rishad Hossain 2-43) vs Bangladesh 146-8 from 20 overs (Najmul Shanto 40, Tanzid Hasan 29, Rishad Hossain 24; Kuldeep Yadav 3-19, Jasprit Bumrah 2-13, Arshdeep Singh 2-30)

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India edged closer to the T20 World Cup semi-finals with a statement 50-run win over Bangladesh. Hardik Pandya’s unbeaten half-century helped India post an imposing 196-5 after being put in to bat in Antigua.

Bangladesh’s batting struggles continued in the chase as they stuttered to 146-8 in a curiously subdued effort, with left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav taking 3-19.

Quick bowler Tanzim Hasan’s fiery double-wicket over and captain Najmul Hossain Shanto’s 40 were the Tigers’ only genuine performances of intent.

The win sees India remain unbeaten in the World Cup so far, alongside South Africa and Australia.

They are well-placed for a semi-final spot and are gathering momentum as they approach the knockout stages, with this victory following the preceding convincing effort against Afghanistan.

Virat Kohli found form after just 29 runs in his previous four innings in the tournament, adding a fluent 37, followed by cameos from Rishabh Pant and Shivam Dube to support the destructive Hardik.

After a strong fightback in the middle, Bangladesh wilted at the death with 76 runs coming from the final five overs as the bowlers lost all discipline in the face of India’s aggression.

If Australia beat Afghanistan later on Saturday night then they and India will progress to the semi-finals from Group One, but a surprise win for Afghanistan would keep all four sides in contention.

India impress but Australia await

India’s trophy hunt is gathering pace and the all-round team effort against Bangladesh will have boosted their hopes further.

Kohli and Rohit provided a quickfire start, Pant maintained the acceleration and then Dube and Hardik finished the job with a brutal display to close the innings.

There were 13 sixes hit in total, with plenty of intent shown throughout the innings, with Suryakumar Yadav’s six the only batting failure but the world’s best T20 batter certainly has plenty of credit in the bank.

With the ball, they were clinical despite Bangladesh barely playing a shot in anger.

Ravindra Jadeja bowled three valuable overs having been scarcely used in the preceding games, Arshdeep Singh and Jasprit Bumrah provided their standard unwavering consistency at the top while it beggars belief that Kuldeep struggles to find a place in their usual starting XI.

He bowled with remarkable control and utilised his canny variations and Bangladesh’s batters had no answers. Opener Tanzid Hasan and Tawhid Hridoy were lbw for 29 and four respectively, before Shakib Al Hasan was caught at mid-off.

While things are shaping up nicely for Rohit Sharma’s men, their tournament is taking the same trajectory as the recent 50-over World Cup where they cruised through the group stage unbeaten only to lose to Australia in the final.

They are yet to really be challenged, with a six-run win over Pakistan being their closest encounter so far.

But that will come on Monday, with a mouth-watering test against Australia which may not have much bearing on the semi-final outcome, but will provide much-needed competition for both heavyweights. (BBC)

 

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