India crush Bangladesh to enter Nidahas Trophy final

The Indian bowlers held their nerve after Rohit Sharma’s fantastic knock to ensure smooth passage to the final with a run 17-run victory over Bangladesh in the fifth match of the Nidahas Trophy on Wednesday at Colombo.

After a prolonged bad patch starting from the tour of South Africa, the stand-in captain was in his element, starting cautiously before finishing with a flourish as he hit five fours and an equal number of sixes off only 61 balls.

With another senior pro Suresh Raina (47 off 30 balls) for company, Rohit added 102 runs for the second wicket in only 9.2 overs.

The two veterans of numerous IPL battles, shifted gears in the four overs between 16 to 19, in which India scored 55 runs. The final over was a bit of an anti-climax with Bangladesh's best bowler Rubel Hossain (2/27 in 4 overs) keeping things tight and giving away only four runs.

The turning point was the 18th over bowled by left-arm military medium bowler Abu Hider Rony (0/43 in 4 overs), which fetched India 21 runs.

Rony was hit for three sixes --- two by Rohit and one by Raina, which suddenly propped up India's score that was looking below par at one stage.

Of the sixes hit by the Indian skipper, the standout was a slog sweep off Mustafizur Rahaman. He also punished the slower bowlers -- off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz and left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam -- hitting them for a six each.

In reply, Bangladesh, stuttered their way to 159 for 6 in their 20 overs. It was young off-spinner Washington Sundar, who delivered the goods for India with the ball. The youngster from Tamil Nadu, who is slowly developing a reputation of bowling well in the powerplay, sneered three big wickets in the first six overs to take the wind out of Bangladesh's chase.

He accounted for Liton Das (7), Soumya Sarkar (1) and finally removed Tamim Iqbal (27), who was firing with all cylinders after the early breakthroughs. On all three occasions, he kept it straight and simple, following the 'you miss, I hit theory'.

After his opening burst, he came back to shut the Bangladesh chase with a brilliant 16th over that yielded only 4 runs. The off-spinner returned with figures of 3 for 22 in his four overs.

Sundar was well supported by Yuzvendra Chahal, who was back to his economical best, giving away only 21 runs in his 4 overs and also accounting for the Bangladeshi captain Mahmudullah.

For Bangladesh, Mushfiqur Rahim played a lone hand of 72 off 55 deliveries  but it was not enough. Now they will face Sri Lanka in a virtual semifinal on Friday.

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