Asia Cup: Captain Kohli Silences the Tigers - The New Indian Express

Asia Cup: Captain Kohli Silences the Tigers

Published: 26th February 2014 11:06 PM

Last Updated: 27th February 2014 12:08 AM

It has become a habit with Virat Kohli. His phenomenal run with the bat continued and today he did it as a captain. Virat Kohli blitzed to his 19th one-day century and, in the process, guided India to a six-wicket victory over Bangladesh at the KSOAS Stadium here on Wednesday. India chased down the stiff target of 280 with one over to spare.

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If Mushfiqar Rahim hit a 113-ball 117 earlier when Bangladesh batted, Kohli electrified the Indian camp with a scintillating 122-ball 136 (16x4, 2x6). Supporting his skipper in designing India's win, that broke the terrible jinx of losing six out of the eight matches, was the cool Ajinkya Rahane (73 off 83 balls). The two stitched together an important stand of 213 runs that silenced the home crowd.

On a day when the two skippers stood out with their exemplary skills with the bat, 25-year-old Kohli had the last laugh. He was decisive in his footwork on a wicket that tended to keep low at times.

What stood Kohli in good stead was his confidence and his indomitable spirit to overcome adverse conditions. He continued to show excellent temperament when under pressure.

Very much at home when the bowling was short or full, whether it was pace or spin, Kohli was his majestic self. He was very good at drives, both on front and back foot. When the Bangladesh bowlers were generous in bowling short, Kohli played the pull or cut shots powerfully.

Rahane, too, batted sensibly. Adjusting to the conditions, he proved an admirable foil to his skipper. He was unnerved and focussed. Blessed with a lot of commonsense cricket, he was patient and carried out the plans to perfection.

The two came together when Shikhar Dhawan fell for 28 (lbw) while Rohit Sharma departed for 21 (bowled). But after that it was a Kohli-Rahane show that blew away Bangladesh hopes.

Earlier,  India continued to have nightmares in bowling. Today it was the turn of Bangladesh to toy with the toothless Indian attack and Rahim made merry to post his second one-day century. The last one came in 2011 against Zimbabwe.

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The chirpy Rahim made most of the ordinary attack to take Bangladesh to a formidable total. Putting aside the recent controversies and poor form, the aggressive Rahim blunted the attack with some bold hitting. He took the initiative from India along with opener Anamul Haque. The two frustrated and irritated the Indian bowlers.

It was not a bad start by Shami and Kumar. They bowled to a disciplined line. But the introduction of Varun Aaron changed the course of the innings. Bowling full, short and wide, the fast bowler gave the licence for Haque and Rahim to score runs. Haque and Rahim struck the bowler with disdain leaving the bowler in tatters. Haque  launched into Aaron to hoist him over long on and then pulled the same bowler for a six. The two realized 133 runs in 24.5 overs.

After a disastrous first spell of 5-0-39-0, Varun came for his second spell and this time it was a horror show. He conceded 35 runs from 2.5 overs. But he did take the wicket of Anamul but it was too late.

Rahim literally feasted on Aaron’s bowling before the bowler felled him with a full toss beamer. It sent the batsman sprawling on the ground and umpire Nigel Llong banned Aaron and Kohli bowled the remaining one delivery of the eighth over of the bowler. But Kohli’s bowling changes were bit surprising, when he gave three overs to Ambati Rayudu and bringing back Aaron. It cost India 91 runs from 10.5 overs.

At times, he looked helpless as runs were leaked in plenty but that did not matter in the end.

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