India, the defending champions, annihilated Bangladesh in the second semi-final at Edgbaston on Thursday. India won the toss and chose to field and thoroughly won the match by nine wickets, with almost 10 overs to spare. Indians never let the foot off the pedal and it was the second performance in succession, where they outperformed the opposition.
Kedar Jadhav’s golden arm
India went into the match unchanged and couldn’t find a place for speedster Umesh Yadav. Bhuvneshwar Kumar provided the early breakthroughs by removing Soumya Sarkar (0) and Sabbir Rahman (19) in quick succession. Virat Kohli’s gamble of relying on rookie all-rounder Hardik Pandya didn’t pay off as youngster from Baroda went for 34 in runs in four overs. The pair of Tamim Iqbal (70) and Mushfiqur Rahim (61) were playing beautifully and India were staring down the barrel. The eureka moment came when Kohli consulting with ex-skipper Dhoni decided to bring on part-timer Kedar Jadhav.
The experiment with Jadhav paid off as Jadhav broke the 123-run partnership and got the big wicket of Tamim. Jadhav wasn’t done and the Maharashtra off-spinner got the big wicket of Mushfiqur with a rank full toss. Kohli couldn’t quite believe his luck and was in splits. Jadhav totally changed the momentum of Bangladesh innings. Later, Mashrafe Mortaza hit some lusty blows to take Bangladesh to a respectable 264/7 in 50 overs.
Kohli said after the match that he had faith in Jadhav’s ability and praised Jadhav for adapting to the situation and getting rewards for team India.
Chase master Kohli at it again
India chasing a modest score of 265 went off to a pretty great start and once again Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma added 87 for the first wicket. Dhawan trying to force the issue perished for 46 and came the modern-day chase master Virat Kohli. Kohli took his time to settle and never looked in trouble against sub-par Bangladeshi attack. Kohli by remaining not-out on 96 became the fastest player in terms of innings (175) to reach 8,000 ODI runs. Kohli broke the record of his IPL teammate AB de Villiers, who had taken 182 innings.
The talented Rohit Sharma also came to the party and scored his 11th ODI century and silenced his critics in style. Sharma played beautifully and remained unbeaten on 123 off 129 balls, hitting 15 fours and one maximum. India dominated most of the match and even if Bangladesh had scored above 300, the target would have been chased by the ‘men in blue’ comfortably.
Bring it on Pakistan!
The eighth edition of Champions Trophy final will be played between arch-rivals India and Pakistan at The Oval. India now have made it to the knock-out stages of six out of last seven ICC tournaments and only missed out in the 2012 World T20, Sri Lanka. Pakistan, being the No 8 ranked side have surprised one and all, and now have chance to win their maiden ICC CT title. India vs Pakistan contest might have lost it spark, but rest assured on Sunday in front of a packed Oval crowd it will be just like old times.