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Ajinkya-Rahane

1st ODI: India ease to seven-wicket win

India beat Bangladesh by seven wickets on the Duckworth-Lewis method in the first ODI at Mirpur on Sunday. Chasing a revised target of 150 in 26 overs, India rode on half-centuries from openers Ajinkya Rahane (64) and Robin Uthappa (50) to reach home with seven balls to spare. India now have a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

India were 100 for 1 in 16.4 overs, chasing Bangladesh’s 272/9, when heavy rains disrupted play for almost two and a half hours at the Shere-e-Bangla National stadium. When play resumed, India needed 50 more off 56 balls but soon found themselves in a spot of bother as Shakib Al Hasan trapped Cheteshwar Pujara lbw for a duck. The moisture underneath the covered pitch helped the ball grip the surface, thereby helping the spinners. Ambati Rayudu came in to bat at number four and helped Rahane ease the tension by not taking any chances against the spinners. Rahane, on the other hand, reached his sixth ODI half-century but fell to a spectacular catch by Ziaur Rehman at short-third man off Mashrafe Mortaza. But by that time, the damage had been done and it was only a matter of time before skipper Suresh Raina and Rayudu secured the win in the 25th over.

Before the rain break, highest run-getter in the 2014 Indian Premier League, Uthappa continued his brilliant run with the bat and celebrated his return to the ODI side – after a gap of nearly six years – with a sixth ODI half-century. As the regular batsmen are rested for this series, Team India fielded a new opening combination of Uthappa and Rahane. The duo looked at ease against a Bangladesh attack that lacked penetration. After safely playing out the first couple of overs, the duo slowly started to open their shoulders.

On a low and slow wicket, the batsmen had to make their own pace and that they did by charging down the track to the Bangladesh medium pacers. Rahane danced down the track on a few occasions to make the length conducive to his style of play and find the gaps. Uthappa was also not shy of taking the aerial route now and then and completed his fifty in 44 balls, thanks to three fours and three sixes. Uthappa’s knock was finally ended when he was adjudged lbw off Shakib when the score was 99 in the 17th over.

Earlier, skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib scored half-centuries as Bangladesh scored 272 for nine. Electing to bat after winning the toss in the hot and humid conditions, Bangladesh were off to a shaky start as they lost opener Tamim Iqbal for zero in the fourth over as Umesh Yadav got the left-hander caught behind by Wriddhiman Saha. New man Mominul Haque (six off 17) looked uncomfortable at the crease and he went after a wide one from Yadav, only to edge and give Saha his second catch of the day.

At the other end, right-handed opener Anamul Haque batted more aggressively and hit seven fours in his 44. He shared a 52-run stand with Rahim before failing to clear deep midwicket and giving debutant Parvez Rasool his maiden ODI wicket. Rahim looked in brilliant touch and together with Shakib, milked the Indian bowlers. Rahim was particularly ferocious, especially on the spinners, using his slog sweep to good effect. Rahim hit three fours and three sixes in his 63-ball 59 before a sudden rush of blood saw him throw his wicket away as he was caught by Rasool off his own bowling.

Shakib then took centrestage and started resurrecting the innings with a 65-run stand with Mahmudullah. Just when he was threatening to take the game away from India, Shakib fell to his counterpart Raina when he tried to play one against the spin and ended up spooning a return catch.

Mahmudullah scored 41 from 44 balls and Nasir Hossain hit 22 off 20 to give the impetus to the Bangladesh innings in the death overs. However, India’s lead spinner in the series Amit Mishra removed both the batsmen in successive balls. Tailenders Mortaza (18 off 10) and Abdur Razzak (16* off 12) hammered some lusty blows in the end to take Bangladesh’s total not just past 250 but end at a challenging 272.

Yadav was India’s pick of the bowlers with figures of 3 for 48. Rasool and Mishra struck twice. Debutant Akshar Patel and Raina took a wicket each.

Brief scores: Bangladesh 272/9 in 50 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 59, Shakib Al Hasan 52, Anamul Haque 44, Mahmudullah 41; Umesh Yadav 3/48, Amit Mishra 2/55, Parvez Rasool 2/60) lose to India 153/3 in 24.5 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 64, Robin Uthappa 50; Shakib 2/27) by seven wickets (D/L method).

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