Umesh Yadav’s pace and Bhuvneshwar’s deadly swing help India bundle out Bangladesh for just 84 after Karthik, Pandya and Dhawan slam fifties
India could not have hoped for a better build-up to their endeavour to defend their Champions Trophy crown. Their performance against a listless Bangladesh team in their final warm-up game here at the Oval yesterday is bound to raise their confidence several notches.
They have strongly dispelled fears of being fatigued from non-stop cricket back home over the last six months and the recent poor form of their top players.
They have also sent a strong message that they mean business despite all the talk about a growing rift between skipper Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble. Their performance is bound to negate the notion that the Indian team is a divided house as a result of the captain and the coach not seeing eye-to-eye.
Overcast skies and a bouncy pitch with a tinge of green provided ample challenges to both teams and India came up trumps. What India missed in their previous warm-up game against New Zealand was batting the full complement of 50 overs. But thanks to the Bangladesh stand-in skipper Shakib Al Hasan’s decision to put India in to bat, hoping to make the most of the cloudy conditions, gave India the opportunity to give most of their batsmen a decent time in the middle.
However, the match did not start well for India. When they lost early wickets of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, it seemed Bangladesh had made the right decision. But back-in-form Shikhar Dhawan, back-up wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik and talented all- rounder Hardik Pandya batted resolutely to take India to a formidable 327 for seven. And that too without any contribution from skipper Virat Kohli (who chose not to bat to give others a chance) and MS Dhoni, who chose to rest by handing over the gloves to Karthik.
But what was heartening was the performance of the pace bowlers. Umesh Yadav generated a lot of pace and bounce, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar was at his swinging best. The two grabbed three wickets apiece to rip open the top order. At 22 for six in eight overs, the match ceased as a contest. Bangladesh then just went through the motions to delay the inevitable.
If one were to look at negatives for India from the match before they take on Pakistan in their opening game in Birmingham on Sunday at the top would be the form of Rohit and Rahane, the waywardness of Jasprit Bumrah and fitness of Yuvraj Singh who has yet to step on the field since arriving in London due to viral fever.
However, the form of the other players and the big win over Bangladesh augurs well for India and they would be full of beans before they run into their arch-rivals in a few days’ time.