Ravindra Jadeja shines as India cruise to win over Bangladesh in Dubai
Jadeja took four wickets and captain Rohit Sharma hit an unbeaten 83 as defending champions get winning start to the Super Four
Ravindra Jadeja forced his way back in to India’s World Cup plans with a match-winning performance with the ball in a seven-wicket win against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup.
The left-arm spinner had only been called in to the squad as an injury replacement a day earlier, in a switch that saw India swap three players in one go.
Jadeja went straight into the starting XI, too, as a direct replacement for Hardik Pandya, who had suffered a back injury while bowling against Pakistan on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old spinner has barely featured in one-day cricket for India since they lost the 2017 Champions Trophy final to Pakistan.
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Despite being the No 4 ranked bowler in the world in Test cricket, he has played just two ODIs, on tour in West Indies, since that final loss to their great rivals last summer.
Instead of Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, India have generally backed the young wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, with a fair degree of success.
But Jadeja out-bowled each of them on his return to the starting XI. He took four for 29 from 10 probing overs, to put the brakes on Bangladesh.
The fact Bangladesh even made it to 173 was largely down to a late flurry from Mehidy Hasan, who top scored with 42 from No 9 in the batting order.
Not that it made much difference. The chase was a cakewalk for a top-order that has somehow arrived after their challenging tour of England in fine working order.
In three matches so far of the Asia Cup, Hong Kong, the unheralded qualifiers from beyond the mainstream, are the only side to have given India any sort of game at all.
Even with the likes of experienced limited-overs stars like Mustafizur Rahman and Shakib Al Hasan in their ranks, Bangladesh’s bowling was limp against India’s openers.
Shikhar Dhawan, who earlier took four catches in the Bangladesh innings, struck a brisk 40 – which represented his worst return so far of a productive tournament.
At the other end, his opening partner Rohit Sharma continued where he left off against Pakistan. The captain struck 83 not out, to add another half-century to the one he made on Wednesday.
It was an impressive Friday afternoon crowd that flocked to Dubai International Stadium, close to its 25,000 capacity.
Although the game was not close, at least the supporters were treated to an MS Dhoni cameo. The former India captain arrived with the game all but won, and still had time to share in a stand worth 64 with Rohit, making 33 of them himself.
India will all but confirm their place in Friday's final if they beat Pakistan against in Dubai on Sunday.
Updated: September 21, 2018 10:26 PM