Dhoni helps India clinch a comprehensive win
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
Scorecard:Bangladesh v India
Player:Tamim Iqbal, SK Raina, V Kohli, MS Dhoni, Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah
Event:Idea Cup 2009/10

DateLine: 7th January 2010


MS Dhoni continued to put up performances befitting a skipper as he led his side to a crucial win the tri-series encounter against Bangladesh. He came at the crease when India were reeling at 51 for 3 in 8.1 overs and it was his cool calculating method of batting that helped his side cross the line. He was well supported by Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina in this victory march.


Shakib-Al-Hasan surprised all at the ground as he elected to bat first first after winning the toss. He was confident that his bowlers would be able to come to terms with the wet ball and he also believed that his batsmen would put up a winning total if not a challenging one on board. Tamim Iqbal (60, 42 balls, 10x4, 1x6) and Imrul Kayes (70, 100 balls, 5x4, 1x6) put on a blistering first wicket partnership of 80 in 11 overs as the Indian bowlers did not know as to what had hit them. That an inexperienced player like Tamim could ruffle an experienced campaigner like Zaheer Khan who on more than one occasion lost his cool spoke about how much the Indian bowlers were rattled. The below par fielding continued to haunt the Indian side as Harbhajan dropped Kayes when the left-hander was on just 3 while the no-ball bug that was prevalent during the previous match was still visible in today's encounter. Finally Sreesanth brought an end to the madness when he had Tamim flick carelessly to Gambhir at midwicket as Bangladesh lost their first wicket.


Ashraful (29, 48 balls, 3x4) joined Kayes in the middle and the duo set about setting the base for a huge score. The pair milked the spinners for singles and double while collecting the odd boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking. It was here that Dhoni showed his innovation as he brought in the fielders to prevent the singles and got Jadeja and Yuvraj spearing in darts at the middle and leg stump of the batsmen. Ashraful was made stroke less for a period of time which he clearly disliked and tried to run down a literally straight ball fro Jadeja down to third man only to find his furniture disturbed. Shakib-Al-Hasan (0, 1 ball) could consider himself unlucky as he was beaten by a direct hit from the deep by the most immobile fielder in the current Indian line-up Zaheer Khan as Bangladesh began to slip. Kayes completed his maiden ODI fifty and when he and Rahim (6, 13 balls) fell quickly the gears began to shift.


Mahmudullah (60 n.o., 45 balls, 8x4) and Naeem Islam (14 n.o., 15 balls) joined forces and plundered the Indian bowling. The pair prospered in the batting powerplay as they flicked, swept, cut and pulled the Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground to stun the Men in Blue who truly looked blue. The pair added 58 in 5.4 overs as they helped Bangladesh reach a formidable total of 296 in their 50 overs.


The target began to get bigger during the Indian chase as they lost three quick wickets with literally nothing on the board when compared to Bangladesh at that stage. Sehwag (13, 8 balls, 2x4) was undone by his careless attitude as he was beaten by a direct hit from Razzak when he attempted a tight single. Gambhir (18, 24 balls, 2x4) inside-edged a wide ball onto his stumps while Yuvraj (1, 4 balls) was beaten for pace and saw his stumps go for a walk. Dhoni joined Kohli in the middle and the two had a huge task at their hands.


The pair did not panic as they showed the application as they put their heads down to build a partnership. They took their time to settle down and once the partnership crossed 50, the pair started opening up and playing more freely. Kohli reached a fluent half-century in 66 balls, while Dhoni got there in 59 and soon the hosts realised that the game was slipping away from their grasp. The pair milked the spinners expertly while collecting the boundaries to try and keep abreast with the asking run-rate. Kohli was struck down by cramps and was extremely unlucky to miss out on an well-deserved century. Kohli (91, 102 balls, 7x4) was lured by a well-flighted delivery fro Shakib which the right-hander fatally knocked back to the bowler who took the catch.


It seemed that the match would have a twist but Raina (51, 43 balls, 5x4, 1x6) joined his skipper Dhoni to extinguish any lingering hope in the Bangladeshi camp. The pair added a stroke-filled partnership of 94 runs in 12.3 overs as the hosts' bowlers wilted under pressure. Dhoni got to his eight ODI hundred and Raina sealed the deal with a thumping cove drive to reach his fifty as India won the match by 6 wickets and 12.3 overs to spare