Opener Shikhar Dhawan hit his second successive Twenty20 half-century to help India thrash Bangladesh by six wickets and register their first win in the tri-nation tournament on Thursday.
Chasing 140 for victory, India rode on Dhawan’s 43-ball 55 to achieve their target with eight balls to spare at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium.
India, who won the toss and opted to bowl, gained the upper hand after pacemen Jaydev Unadkat and Vijay Shankar shared five wickets between them to restrict Bangladesh to 139-8.
“I think it was a great performance, something that was expected from us. Right from the start to the end, it was clinical and a complete team effort,” India skipper Rohit Sharma said after the win.
“Bowlers executed plans very well. We kept it simple and got the basics right, which was missing in the first game.”
Dhawan, whose 90 went in vain in India’s opening loss against hosts Sri Lanka on Tuesday, then made sure that his side cruise home, despite initially slumping to 40-2.
Sharma faltered in his second successive outing after chopping a delivery onto his stumps from left-arm paceman Mustafizur Rahman. He made 17.
50th six for Suresh Raina in T20Is. The third Indian to do so after Yuvraj Singh (74) and Rohit Sharma (69)#IndvBan— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) March 8, 2018
Dhawan, hitting five fours and two sixes en route to his sixth T20 fifty, and Suresh Raina, who made 28, put on a crucial 68-run third-wicket stand.
Dhawan finally fell to Taskin Ahmed’s right-arm medium pace in the 17th over but Manish Pandey, 27 not out, carried the team home.
Earlier Bangladesh’s batting faltered with only Liton Das, who top-scored with 34 and Sabbir Rahman, who hit 30 off 26 balls, giving some respectability to the total.
Unadkat claimed three wickets with his left-arm pace while Shankar, who took his first international wicket in Mushfiqur Rahim, returned figures of 2-32.
“We didn’t bat well. We should have scored 30 more runs. We need to find out how to get runs on these kind of wickets,” said Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah.
“One win will boost us and will reflect in our game. Hopefully we’ll get it.”
Bangladesh will next take on Sri Lanka in the third match of the tournament, which is timed to commemorate the host island’s 70 years of independence, on Saturday.
The Indian cricket board on Wednesday sprang a surprise by giving white-ball specialists Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan the top-most contract according to their latest grade system, rewarding them substantially more than Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
At a time when Test cricket is struggling to keep pace with T20 that is witnessing an exponential growth, the decision to put India’s Test specialists in the lower category of contracts sends wrong signals to long format players.
It’s a sentiment shared by Pakistan legend Wasim Akram who said cricket boards should always reward Test players more than others.
“Test specialists should (get more). Because that’s the most difficult cricket,” Akram told Sport360 during an event in Dubai announcing his association with online cricket content provider CricInGif.
Akram pointed to the fact that players put their bodies on the line in Test cricket and there has to be a clear reward for those who show discipline to excel in the toughest format.
“That’s where you get hit by bouncers, you get hit on your head, on your fingers as a batsman. Bowlers bowl longer spells.
“That’s where the mindset of those who run cricket boards (matters). They should realise Test cricket is the ultimate and everything else follows,” Akram added.
In the BCCI‘s new contract system, limited-overs regulars Rohit and Shikhar find themselves in the A+ category, which is worth rupees 70 million ($1m).
The overall value of central contracts has risen substantially. Earlier, the highest grade (A) was worth 20 million rupees ($300,000) but now the second highest grade (A) alone carries a retainer of 50 million rupees ($770,000).
Most of India’s Test specialists now find themselves in the new A category. It includes Test spinners Ashwin and Jadeja and batsmen Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay.
For Ashwin, Jadeja, Pujara and Vijay, the value of their contract has jumped from 20 to 50 million rupees. But as a share of the overall pie, they find themselves way behind Rohit and Dhawan, whose contract value has risen from 10 and five million rupees respectively to 70 million rupees.
Shami, who represented India during the tour of South Africa in January, has dismissed the accusations of infidelity as “part of a big conspiracy” to defame him.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India dropped Shami from a list of contracted players unveiled Wednesday, which saw skipper Virat Kohli and other top Test players awarded salaries just above $1 million.
A supervisory committee overseeing BCCI affairs said the allegations against Shami put them in a difficult position and that his contract was on hold pending review.
“We are in a bit of Catch 22,” Vinod Rai, chairman of the committee, told cricket website ESPNcricinfo.
“Ordinarily you would distinguish and say that is a personal issue and the contract is a professional issue.
“But someone could easily point out and say this allegation is an unsavoury one and you are still rewarding him.”
A source from the BCCI confirmed the board’s position when contacted by AFP.
Shami’s wife Hasin Jahan, a former model, went public Tuesday with a series of messages that Shami, 27, allegedly sent to women during their four-year marriage.
I’m Mohammad Shami.
Ye jitna bhi news hamara personal life ke bare may chal raha hai, ye sab sarasar jhut hai, ye koi bahut bada humare khilap sajish hai or ye mujhe Badnam karne or mera game kharab karne ka kosis ki ja rahi hai.
— Mohammad Shami (@MdShami11) March 7, 2018
She also accused the cricketer, whom she married in 2014, of domestic violence.
India media reported that Jahan went to the police in Kolkata but did not file an official report against her husband.
Shami vented his frustration at his wife’s accusations and sought to clear his record.
“What is being said about my personal life is completely false,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
“It’s definitely a part of a big conspiracy against me. This is just an attempt to defame me.”
The board elevated Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah to a new “A+” category for the highest salaried players.
Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravichandran Ashwin were placed in the next grouping and will receive an annual salary of $777,000.
Provided by AFP Sport