Sharma’s timely return to form gives India place in final

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –India’s stand-in captain Rohit Sharma made a timely return to form scoring a well-paced out innings of 89 off 61 balls to ensure a place for his team in the final of the Hero Nidahas trophy T20 tri-series.

Sharma’s knock coupled with contributions of 35 off 27 balls from Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina 47 off 30 balls saw India reach 176-3 after a slow start and then restrict Bangladesh to 159-6 to win the contest by 17 runs – the first time in the series a team batting first has won.

This was India’s final league match of the series and they finished with three wins and a loss. They must await the final league match between host Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on Friday to know who their opponents in Sunday’s final are.

Invited to bat first as has been the trend throughout the series India rattled off 105 runs in their final ten overs with Sharma and Raina contributing the majority of it in a stand of 102 off 56 balls.

Sharma named Man of the Match had five sixes and five fours in scoring his 13th T20I fifty which he took time over in compiling. He was dismissed off the final ball of the innings being run out by the bowler Rubel Hossain trying to steal a single.

Raina put up an impressive batting performance striking five fours and two sixes in his innings. Dhawan helped his captain in an opening stand of 70 off 59 balls hitting five fours and a six on a slow pitch that was not easy for batting.

Rubel picked up his wicket as well as Raina’s to end as the most successful bowler with 2/27.

Abu Hider who replaced Taskin Ahmed had a poor game conceding 43 runs in his four overs that included 21 off his final over.

Bangladesh faltered in their run chase as they lost Liton Das as early as the second over for seven – beaten by the flight of Washington Sundar and being stumped. Sundar also accounted for Soumya Sarkar for one off his next over and the key wicket of Tamim Iqbal for 27 to push Bangladesh onto the back foot at 40-3 in the sixth over. He finished with career best figures of 3 for 22.

Yuzvendra Chahal cut short Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah’s stay at the wicket to just 11 runs off 8 balls before having him caught at deep midwicket.

Mushfiqur Rahim continued from where he left off from his match winning knock of 72 not out against Sri Lanka but with the constant fall of wickets at the other end his task became harder.

With the asking rate increasing by the overs the pressure got to the Bangladesh batsmen and Sabbir Rahman the last of their recognised batsmen succumbed for 27 after helping Mushfiqur add 65 off 48 balls for the fifth wicket.

Mushfiqur made a valiant effort to get Bangladesh over the line but the task proved impossible in the end and he finished unconquered again on a score of 72 not out scored off 55 balls with eight fours and a six.

It was a fine effort by India’s second line of attack to defend a total of 176 by containing Bangladesh’s strong batting line-up that had only the other day chased down a record total of 215.

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