ADELAIDE: Breathless at the Oval! India almost slipped on the proverbial banana peel before a fortuitous rain break worked in their favor on Wednesday night as they cruised to a 5-run (D/L method) win over Bangladesh. As their bowlers pulled things back in dramatic fashion in a shortened 16-over game, Bangladesh’s old bug, pressure, undid the opener. Litton Das‘ extraordinary effort.
TALL CARD | AS IT HAPPENED | POINTS TABLE
It is not easy to overshadow Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav all in one day, but that’s exactly what Litton (60 from 27 balls; 7×4, 3×6) almost managed. As Bangladesh started their chase of 185, it was as if Litton knew exactly when the rain would come and exactly what he had to do.
The ferocity of his onslaught perhaps surprised the Indian pacers. By the time the rain came, seven overs had been bowled and Bangladesh were 66/0, a clear 17 above the D/L par score, with Litton on 59 from 26 balls. To put things in perspective, his opening partner Najmul Hossain Shanto then managed just 7 off 16 balls at the other end.
India started well enough, with Bhuvneshwar giving away just two off his first over and immediately getting a swing, but Arshdeep’s left-arm swing in the next over leaked runs. First ball, a touch wide, was carved past backward point for four. Arshdeep cut the next ball on his length but crossed the third, and Litton smoked it straight down the ground past the bowler. There was more drama as behind the stumps Dinesh Karthik failed to clear an edge behind the stumps.
Third over, Litton went after Bhuvi: he pulled one for six, hit one for four over mid-on before expertly guiding one over slip and third man short for another four. Litton made his own space as India bowled back a length, often charging down the ground as Shami.
Fifth ball of the third over, Litton survived again as Karthik, diving to his right, arms outstretched, failed to pick a difficult one. It looked like it would be Bangladesh’s day.
Sixteen runs came from Shami’s sixth over, Litton hitting one square, then walking out to pull for six, probably the shot of the day. One more boundary followed, but the 52-minute rain break halted Bangladesh’s momentum. Their target has been revised to 151 from 16 overs, meaning they now need 85 in 9 overs. With Litton around, anything seemed possible.
This was the moment the stars realigned India’s way. Ashwin restarted the proceedings and the outfield and pitch were still damp. Litton turned and slid for a second run. Second ball, Shanto walked out and played to deep mid-wicket where KL Rahul, who had rediscovered his batting form earlier in the day, spied the Bangladesh batsmen for a second.
As luck would have it, Litton slipped again, recovered and continued but Rahul’s incredible throw from deep mid-wicket hit the stumps. Imagine the chance!
Das was run out and Bangladesh panicked. They played one too many shots in the middle overs and India spied an opening. Hundreds of Indian fans who had queued in the rain to leave the stadium ran back, chants of “Vande Mataram” echoing across the Adelaide Oval. The Bangladeshi fans became strangely silent.
It eventually boiled down to 31 off the last 12 balls, with Taskin Ahmed and Nurul Hasan at the crease. Hardik Pandya ran in, Taskin connected. Celebrate by extra cover. Two balls later, Taskin connected again. Six! Swings over deep mid-wicket. Pandya remained silent. Rohit Sharma stepped up for a mid-height conference. 20 from 8 became 20 from 7 and finally 20 from the last six by Arshdeep. It was just too much for Bangladesh.
Earlier, Virat Kohli continued his love affair with Adelaide, scoring 64 not out (44b; 8×4, 1×6) while KL Rahul made a welcome return to form with a 32-ball 50 (3×4, 4×6). Suryakumar’s 16-ball 30 also helped India pace as they recovered from a slow start to 184/6.
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After breaking out of jail here, India (6 points) are virtually through to the semi-finals. Bangladesh, meanwhile, will rue the fact that they lost five wickets and scored just 40 runs in the 34 balls they faced after Litton was run out.