NEW DELHI: The wait for the Virat Kohli century in the ongoing ICC World Cup got over on Thursday as the India chasemaster scored his 48th ODI hundred to take the hosts home in style against Bangladesh at MCA stadium in Pune. Kohli also became the fourth batter ever to breach the 26,000 runs mark in international cricket during his unbeaten 103-run knock, off 97 balls.
With the commanding seven-wicket victory, India registered their fourth win on the trot in the tournament. The hosts are now equal on eight points with New Zealand on the points table, but are placed in second spot due to inferior net run rate in comparison to the Kiwis.
As it happened: India vs Bangladesh
After the bowlers performed in unison to restrict Bangladesh to a below-par 256 for 8, India batters led by Kohli and openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma chased down the target comfortably in the 42nd over. India now face table-toppers New Zealand on Sunday in their next league match.
Here’s how Kohli special helped India overcome Bangladesh for their fourth win in a row:
Record opening stand for Bangladesh
After opting to bat first, Bangladesh had a terrific start as their openers added a record stand. Tanzid Hasan (51 off 43 balls) brought up his maiden ODI fifty and added a record 93 runs for the opening wicket with senior partner Litton Das. It was their highest opening stand in the World Cup. When Kuldeep Yadav gave India the first breakthrough in the 15th over, Bangladesh were well placed at 93 for 1 in 14.4 overs. Das also brought up his 12th half-century and Bangladesh looked good for 300 at that moment.
Ravindra Jadeja celebrates the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das. (ANI Photo)
Regular wickets hurt Bangladesh
After Kuldeep’s breakthrough wicket, fellow spinner Ravindra Jadeja provided the hosts their second wicket in the 20th over in the form of stand-in skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto. Shanto, who was leading the side in the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, contributed just 8 before being dismissed LBW by Jadeja. Wicket-keeper KL Rahul then produced a stunning one-handed catch down the leg side to dismiss Mehidy Hasan Miraz off Mohammed Siraj in the 25th over, before Jadeja struck again to send the well-set Litton Das (66 off 82) back to pavilion in the 28th over. Bangladesh were reduced to 137 for 4 in 27.4 overs from a commanding 93 for no loss in 14.3 overs.
Final push from Mahmudullah
Towhid Hridoy (16) and Mushfiqur Rahim (38) steadied the ship a bit, adding 42 runs for the fifth wicket. But they kept losing wickets at regular intervals, which did not allow them to press for a bigger total. Mahmudullah was the only one to keep the run rate going for Bangladesh in the final overs, scoring 46 off 36 balls with the help of three sixes and equal number of fours. Mahmudullah’s attack took the final score past the 250 mark for them as they posted 256 for 8 in 50 overs. For India, Jadeja (2/38), Jasprit Bumrah (2/41) and Mohammed Siraj (2/60) claimed two wickets each.
Shubman Gill celebrates after scoring a half-century. (AFP Photo)
India chase off to a flying start
India openers too got off to a flying start in the competitive chase of 257 in Pune. Skipper Rohit Sharma started his innings with two fours off Shoriful Islam in the first over itself, before Shubman Gill joined the party with a first-ball four off Mustafizur Rahman in the next over. The duo kept dealing in boundaries, and Gill even smoked Nasum Ahmed for two sixes in an over to take India to 63 for no loss after 10 overs. After hitting his second six, Rohit (48 off 40) was holed out at deep backward square leg off the bowling of Hasan Mahmud in the 13th over as India reached 88/1. Gill (53 off 55) then brought up his 10th ODI fifty, but soon fell to Mehidy Hasan Miraz in the 20th over with India still comfortably placed at 132/2 in 19.2 overs.
India’s slow and steady revival
After losing Gill, India batters Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer made sure that there were no unwanted hiccups. The duo slowly and steady kept the run chase on course, adding runs in singles and twos. Kohli completed his 69th ODI half-century in between, before Iyer (19 off 25) became Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s second victim, when the India No.4 charged out for a big shot but miscued it completely to be holed out at mid-wicket boundary by Mahmudullah in the 30th over. By then, Iyer had added a steady 46 runs for the third wicket in 9.5 overs with Kohli. India at 178/3 were looking pretty good in their chase, when KL Rahul joined Kohli in the middle.
Kohli ton: The icing on the cake
The pair of Kohli and Rahul then took the hosts home with 51 balls to spare with a solid unbeaten partnership. They kept rotating the strikes with singles and twos and hit occasional boundaries to take India closer to the target. Rahul contributed a run-a-ball 34, which included a six and three fours, while adding a match-winning unbeaten 83 runs for the fourth wicket in 12.2 overs with Kohli. The icing on the cake came in the final leg of the chase, when Kohli needed 15 to reach his 48th ODI hundred with the team also needing the same for the victory. In the end, Kohli (103 not out off 97) smoked a big six over deep mid-wicket to complete his century in style as India registered their fourth win in a row in the tournament. Kohli also became the fastest batter to score 26,000 runs in international cricket on Thursday.
Watch: Virat Kohli gifts Pakistan captain Babar Azam a signed jersey