India defeat Bangladesh by nine wickets: Kedar Jadhav's spell and other turning points from Champions Trophy semi-final

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Kedar Jadhav celebrates with teammates after dismissing Tamim Iqbal.

JADHAV’S TWIN STRIKES

Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim were taking a toll on the Indian bowling with their 123-run partnership. But more worrying for the Indians was the run-rate which was nearing six an over as Bangladesh were 150-plus for the loss of two wickets in the 27th over. Besides, the batsmen in the middle were Bangladesh’s most experienced and in-form.

Indian captain Virat Kohli brought Kedar Jadhav into the attack in the hope that the part-time off-spinner would slow down the pace of run-making. But Jadhav ended up pulling out a rabbit out of his hat by dismissing both Tamim and Mushfiqur.

The double blow pegged back Bangladesh so badly that they failed to recover from it and had to be content with a sub-300 total, which was far less than what they would have expected when the two Bangladeshis were going well.

PANDYA’S NO-BALL

Hardik Pandya was introduced into the bowling attack in the 13th over with Bangladesh labouring for runs. The Indian all-rounder was expected to maintain the tempo but he was all over the place. His second ball was a no-ball and Tamim offered up a catch off the subsequent free-hit.

But it was the second no-ball, off the fifth delivery of the same over that hurt India the most. Tamim, who was struggling to get going, was bowled off an inside edge.

In the resulting free-hit, the Bangladesh batsman smashed a boundary to the fence. It released the pressure as Pandya ended up conceding 14 runs in that over and Tamim was back in his elements.

Hardik Pandya reacts after a no-ball cost him a wicket [Getty Images]

Hardik Pandya reacts after a no-ball cost him a wicket.

BHUVNESHWAR’S EARLY WICKETS

Until the semi-final, Sabbir Rahman had not done anything significant in the tournament to attract attention. So when he took on the Indian bowlers smashing fours at will, it appeared Bangladesh had come out with a plan against their famed rivals. That too, even after Bangladesh had lost opener Soumya Sarkar in the first over.

With all the focus on the prolific Tamim Iqbal, it seemed that Sabbir had slipped under the radar – cracking four fours to race to 19 off 13 balls. But that was when Indian pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah rose to the occasion – bowling 13 dot balls in a row.

Bhuvneshwar then landed the sucker punch with a slower ball wide outside the off-stump and Sabbir, who had been denied runs, fell for it by hitting the ball straight into point fielder Ravindra Jadeja’s hands.

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Bangladesh truly lost their nerve and handed India an easy ticket to the Champions Trophy final

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India will face Pakistan on Sunday.

The 2017 Champions Trophy will not be remembered as a tournament where teams wanted to bat first after winning the toss. This has been mainly because of the lack of swing, or rain and D/L consideration at times, but mostly it was about the flat tracks laid out for batsmen to make merry on. On only four out of 14 occasions until the second semi-final between India and Bangladesh here at Edgbaston, a team winning the toss opted to bat first.

It was no surprise then when Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to field too. His counterpart Mashrafe Mortaza talked about bowling first, had he been lucky enough to make that decision. A team like Bangladesh, though, cannot rely simply on luck, especially on a stage like this. Simply put, this was the biggest day in their ODI cricket history – the semi-final of an ICC tournament – and they needed to be brave against a behemoth of an opposition.

To their credit, Bangladesh were brave, at least for the first 30 overs. Despite losing two early wickets, they attacked the Indian bowling. Tamim Iqbal (70) and Mushfiqur Rahim (61) borrowed a leaf from Sri Lanka’s book as they went after India’s fifth bowler Hardik Pandya (0-34 in four overs). When Kohli countered by bringing on Ravi Ashwin (0-54) and Ravindra Jadeja (1-48), they attacked the spinners too. Both of them were going at six an over before the third wicket fell.

At that point in time – 154-2 after 27.5 overs – the Tigers were cruising and a 300-plus chase was looking very likely for India. It could have been 320-plus even, had the duo continued their 123-run partnership. Here, at this juncture, let us pause and take stock. It cannot be denied that India were desperate for a wicket. The fifth bowler’s spell is the one weakness in their armour. And like Lanka, Bangladesh were exploiting it very well.

The trick, however, is to do it with intelligence. That’s the difference between the Sri Lankans and Bangladesh. The former did it for the entirety of the innings with an audacity that belied their young team’s inexperience. The latter fizzled out midway through their innings in this semi-final. Here, it is important to point out that Bangladesh are no longer an inexperienced side.

This was Iqbal’s 173rd ODI, and 176th for Rahim. One of them has even led their side in this format. When Kedar Jadhav (2-22 in six overs) was introduced at that stage, the need of the hour then was to play the part-timer with guile and just see out his overs, milking him for runs like they had done against Ashwin and Jadeja. Instead, the duo – tempted by his pie-chucking deliveries – went all out against Jadhav, and it turned the game upside down.

“Wickets were honestly a bonus. Hardik went for a few in his first three, so we wanted to give him a bit of a break and cover up overs through Kedar. We knew that he had the ability to get in two or three dot balls every over. But it ended up changing the whole game for us,” said Kohli about the ploy to bring in a part-timer.

There is no denying Bangladesh’s growing stature in world cricket, standing up to the big boys in limited-overs’ cricket even if there is a disparity in Tests still. However, this was a rookie mistake, plain and simple. They were already on top, and had no need to push on the accelerator at that stage of the game. In a parallel universe, Bangladesh would have two centurions in Iqbal and Rahim today, and India would be making heavy weather of a 320-plus chase to reach the final.

Instead, the Men in Blue were presented with an easy foot in the door and they barged in with full force. This is the thing about mature and responsible teams – they grasp every half opportunity presented to them. Bangladesh are yet to bridge this gap, for all their success on the international stage in recent times, and this is where they fell short to India.

It is underlined by the ease with which India’s bowlers put the brakes on their lower order’s scoring, squeezing them into surrender. Then, with a flat track laid out for India’s top order, it was almost a net session. Shikhar Dhawan pulled and cut with aplomb, Rohit Sharma notched up a hundred that was there for the taking, and Kohli strolled his way to becoming the quickest batsman to 8000 ODI runs.

As such, Bangladesh handed an easy ticket to India for a repeat big-clash against Pakistan on Sunday, with the tournament sponsors and broadcasters laughing their way to the bank. At some point in the future, or indeed in the next ICC-tournament semi-final they play, the Tigers will perhaps make it tougher for the opposition, and take the opportunity to be braver, smarter and qualify themselves.

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ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli star as India cruise into final meeting with Pakistan

Sport360 staff 15/06/2017
India will meet Pakistan in Sunday's final.

Rohit Sharma (123* off 129 balls) and Virat Kohli (96* off 78 balls) starred as defending champions India cruised into the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final after a nine-wicket win over Bangladesh at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Thursday.

Chasing a target of 265, India got off to a brilliant start with Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan (46 off 34 balls) adding 87 runs for the opening wicket.

Dhawan, especially, was very aggressive as he hit seven fours and one six during his stay at the crease.

There was no respite for the Bangladesh bowlers even after Dhawan’s dismissal as Kohli joined Rohit in the middle and the duo made sure that India were in complete control with an unbeaten 202-run partnership.

In the end, India reached the target with 9.5 overs to spare.

Earlier, the Indian bowlers did a good job to restrict Bangladesh to 264-7 in their 50 overs after Tamim Iqbal (70 off 82 balls) and Mushfiqur Rahim (61 off 85 balls) added a century-stand together.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar had got India off to a good start, picking up two wickets with the new ball to reduce Bangladesh to 31-2. Tamim and Mushfiqur, then, seemed to have given their side a brilliant platform as they put on a 123-run partnership for the third wicket.

The decision to bring on part-time spinner Kedar Jadhav was a big turning point in the match as he took the wickets of both the set batsmen. The 32-year-old managed to have impressive bowling figures of 6-0-22-2 at the end of his spell.

Jasprit Bumrah followed up the good work done by Jadhav, with a couple of wickets of his own as Bangladesh went from 154-2 to 229-7. A few boundaries from captain Mashrafe Mortaza (30* off 25 balls) helped Bangladesh get to 264, a total that was far from enough in the end.

India will now face arch-rivals Pakistan in what will be a highly-anticipated final at The Oval on Sunday.

BRIEF SCORES

Bangladesh 264-7, 50 overs [Tamim 70, Mushfiqur 61, Jadhav 2-22] lost to India 265-1, 40.1 overs [Rohit 123*, Kohli 96*, Mortaza 1-29] by nine wickets.

Player of the Match – Rohit Sharma.

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