Kolkata: The dreams of every cricket fanatic across the world are set to come true as India will now play arch-rivals Pakistan in the final of the Champions Trophy on Sunday. India, the defending champions have crushed a hapless Bangladeshi side in the second semi-final by nine wickets to enter the summit round of the Champions Trophy for the second consecutive time.
Before the match, everyone had predicted that it was going to be a tight one, considering Bangladesh’s recent ODI performances. But it was just the opposite as the men in blue led by Virat Kohli trampled Mashrafe Mortaza’s men by a huge margin of nine wickets with 9.5 overs remaining in Edgebaston.
Virat Kohli, won the toss and chose to bowl first and it proved to be a good decision as the Bangladeshi batsmen seemed in a sort of hurry right from the beginning of the innings. Opener Soumya Sarkar was dismissed for a duck by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the very first over.
In came Sabbir Rahman (19), who attacked right from the word go and tried to take the fight to the Indian bowlers. Where he should have been patient and made an effort to build his innings slowly, he went all guns blazing and perished while trying to do so as Bhuvneshwar Kumar once again got the better of the batsman as he caught by Ravindra Jadeja.
But after the quick loss of wickets, the experienced duo Tamim Iqbal (70) and Mushfiqur Rahim (61) put on a 123- run stand to help build a strong foundation for the remaining batsmen to come. They nudged the ball for singles and thwarted the Indians efforts’ in making further inroads into the batting order.
Just when things were looking in Bangladesh’s control, Kohli came up with the idea to give Kedar Jadhav the ball and it yielded instant rewards as he went on to dismiss both these set batsmen.
Ravindra Jadeja too came to the party as he sent back the centurion of the last match-Shakib Al-Hasan for 15 runs and when Tamim, Mushfiqur and Shakib fell, only 179 runs were put on the board and it really needed a brilliant effort from the remaining batsmen to help put a decent and a challenging total on the board.
But they were unable to cope up with the pressure as Mahmadullah (21), Mossadek Hossain (15) , Mashrafe Mortaza (30*) and Taskin Ahmed (10*) could only help post 264 runs in the high-octane clash.
In reply, the Indians began well with in-form openers Shikhar Dhawan (46) and Rohit Sharma put on 87 runs for the first wicket. Dhawan carried on with his superb form in the tournament but missed out on a well-deserved fifty after he was dismissed by Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza.
Bangladesh from there on, hoped to stage a comeback but Virat Kohli, who walked in at number three had other plans mind. He took his time and settled in and when he finished doing so, some exquisite shots followed which totally dampened the spirits of the Bangladeshi bowlers.
The duo of Sharma and Kohli went on to register a record unbeaten 178 run stand that sealed the deal for the defending champions who romped to victory to set up a iconic final clash against arch-rivals Pakistan.
Shikhar Dhawan thus became the highest run-getter for India in the Champions Trophy with 680 runs, surpassing the legendary Sourav Ganguly. Ravindra Jadeja too became the highest wicket taker for India in the competition with 16 wickets to his name.
Virat Kohli, who ended the match with 96* runs also became the fastest batsman to reach the 8000-run mark going past AB De Villiers.
Overall, it was one again a complete performance for India as they would now be pumped up to face Pakistan in the finals at the Oval- a team that they have already beaten in this tournament.
Bangladesh however had a good tournament and they fought hard and aided with some luck, they made it to their first ever semi-finals. But there’s yet a lot to go for Mashrafe and his team as he himself admitted that they needed to be mentally strong on such big occasions.
Bangladesh 264/7 (Tamim Iqbal 70, Mushfiqur Rahim 61; Kedar Jadhav 2/22) lost to India 265/1 in 40.1 overs (Rohit Sharma 123*, Virat Kohli 96*; Mashrafe Mortaza 1/29) by 9 wickets.