After their disappointment at the World Twenty20 and the triangular series in Zimbabwe, MS Dhoni, the India captain, is looking to make amends at the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and assuaged fears of a mini-crisis back home. India lost all their three Super Eight games at the World Twenty20 in the West Indies and their second string side, led by Suresh Raina, lost three of the four games in Zimbabwe.
With the first team together again, especially the experienced opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, India started their Asia Cup campaign with a comprehensive six-wicket win over Bangladesh yesterday and Dhoni is looking forward to the rest of the tournament. "It [the Asia Cup] is very important because we have not done really well in Zimbabwe," Dhoni said in a post-match TV interview.
"Cricket is one of the biggest sports in India so we get criticised a lot, which means we have to do well in this tournament. We just hope to give our best. Of course we can't control the result, but as far as commitment is concerned, if we can give more than 100 per cent, that would be really great." Sehwag took four wickets for just six runs, including three in an over, as Bangladesh were bowled out for 167 in 34.5 overs. The India opener missed out with the bat, going for just 11, but Gambhir battled his match-rustiness and form in an innings of 82 as Dhoni's team reached the target in 30.4 overs to get a crucial bonus point.
"It's just at the World Twenty20 that I did not score runs," Gambhir, the man of the match, said in a post-match TV interview. "I think there has been a lot of talk about my form. It helped me that this was the kind of wicket on which I really need to graft. That was the perfect platform to play a long innings." Imrul Kayes hammered Zaheer Khan for three fours and Bangladesh had 25 on the board after only two overs.
They moved on to 35 in 2.5 overs but the next 3.1 overs produced just five runs. Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah combined for 55 runs late in the innings, before the introduction of Sehwag. The occasional off-spinner took three wickets in his third over as Bangladesh's last three batsmen failed to add a run. From 155 for four, they were all out 12 run later, around 80 less than what Shakib Al Hasan, their captain, expected, with 15.1 overs still remaining. * Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi
Bangladesh Tamim c Raina b Kumar 22 Kayes c Sehwag b Nehra 37 Ashraful c Kumar b Nehra 20 Rahim c Dhoni b Sehwag 30 Al Hasan b Harbhajan 7 Mahmudullah c Dhoni b Jadeja 23 N Islam c Dhoni b Sharma 3 Shuvo lbw b Sehwag 4 Mortaza not out 0 S Islam lbw b Sehwag 0 Rasel b Sehwag 0 Extras 2lb, 19w 21 Total (all out, 34.5 overs) 167 Fall of wickets: 1-35; 2-81; 3-88; 4-100; 5-155; 6-160; 7-167; 8-167; 9-167; 10-167 Bowling: Kumar 7-0-38-1; Zaheer 5-1-29-0; Nehra 4-0-28-2; Harbhajan 7-0-32-1; Jadeja 8-0-27-1; Sehwag 2.5-0-6-4; Sharma 1-0-5-1 India Gambhir lbw b Mortaza 82 Sehwag c Rahim b Mortaza 11 Kohli st Rahim b Al Hasan 11 Sharma lbw b Al Hasan 0 Dhoni not out 38 Raina not out 1 Extras 4b, 6lb, 15w 25 Total (4 wickets, 30.4 overs) 168 Fall of wickets: 1-37; 2-80; 3-80; 4-158 Bowling: Mortaza 5.4-0-37-2; Rasel 5-0-25-0; Al Hasan 10-0-49-2; S Islam 6-0-26-0; Shuvo 4-0-21-0 India won by six wickets.