Colombo: Shikhar Dhawan continued his imperious form as India got back to winning ways with a comfortable six-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the second match of the Nidahas T20 tri-series here last night.
Chasing a below-par score of 140, India made merry with Dhawan’s 55 off 43 took them home in mere 18.4 overs on a slowish Premadasa track.
After an indifferent Test series in South Africa, the Delhi left-hander had found his mojo back at the start of the limited-overs leg in South Africa. His sequence of a score in the last five T20 reads 55, 90, 47, 24, 72.
Along with the seasoned Suresh Raina (28 off 27 balls), Dhawan added 68 runs for the third wicket as the paltry target was knocked off with minimum fuss despite a couple of early breakthroughs. of skipper Rohit Sharma (17) and young Rishabh Pant (7).
Dhawan started with a square-driven boundary off Mustafizur Rahaman. He used the pace of Taskin Ahmed’s bouncer to hook him behind square for a six and then played the ‘Nataraja pull shot’ off the next delivery.
When off-spinner Mahmudullah dropped one short, he rocked back and smashed him over cow corner for a six. The second consecutive half-century came off 35 balls when he chased a wide delivery from left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam. In all, Dhawan hit five fours and two sixes.
With Dhawan in fine touch, Raina played freely at the other end, taking the singles and hitting the odd boundary. He played his customary slog sweep off Mehedy Hasan Miraz over deep mid-wicket.
When Dhawan was finally gone off Taskin’s delivery, India needed 17 runs, which Manish Pandey (27 no off 19 balls) and Dinesh Karthik (2 no) got without breaking much sweat.
Earlier, India’s young bowling unit got its bearings back with a disciplined effort to restrict Bangladesh to a modest 139/8 exorcising the ghosts of a nightmarish effort against hosts Sri Lanka in the opener.
The inexperienced line-up gave a much better account of themselves, using the conditions well, much to the delight of their skipper Rohit.
The testimony to a better performance was as many as 55 dot balls (9.1 overs) being bowled by the ‘Men In Blue’.
On a slow track, all-rounder Vijay Shankar’s (2/32 in 4 overs) wicket-to-wicket stuff proved to be handy even though he had at least three catches dropped off his bowling. Jaydev Unadkat (3/38) had the most number of wickets but he was inconsistent throughout his four-over spell with a mixture of good deliveries followed by half-trackers.
Skipper Rohit once again started with off-spinner MS Washington Sundar (0/23 in 4 overs) and the normally dangerous Tamim Iqbal (15, 16 balls) found it difficult to get going in the Powerplay overs. Sundar bowled as many as 13 dot balls in those first six overs.
His partner Soumya Sarkar (14, 12 balls) flicked Unadkat over long-leg for a six but the Saurashtra left-arm had the last laugh when he was caught at short fine-leg trying to whip a rising delivery.
Tamim’s misery was ended by a well-disguised short-ball from Shardul Thakur (1/25 in 4 overs), which climbed on him sharply.His mistimed pull-shot was taken easily by Unadkat at short fine-leg.
Liton Das (34, 30 balls) and former skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (18) added 31 runs for the third wicket.
Rahim, in fact, started with a switch-hit sweep and a conventional slog sweep off Yuzvendra Chahal (1/19 in 4 overs), who didn’t bowl too many boundary balls after that.
Shankar, playing his second international game, impressed everyone by hitting the right length time and again.
The lack of pace in his bowling was managed well by managing to hit the good length spot with Suresh Raina dropping a dolly to give Liton a reprieve. The ball stopped on him and climbed up. It was an easy skier went begging with Raina running from mid-off dropped it.
Liton once again got lucky as another Shankar bouncer saw him try to clear the deep fine leg but Chahal running in-front spilt the catch.
However in his next over, Shankar got his first international wicket when Mushfiqur edged one to Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps.
Skipper Mahmudullah (1, 8 balls)was frustrated by Chahal’s variations and in his desperate bid tried to hit Shankar inside out gave an easy catch to Shardul at sweeper cover boundary.
Liton couldn’t utilise the chances that he got as Chahal enticed him with a flighted delivery as Raina took a simple catch at long-off.
Shankar was again unlucky in his final over when he sprinted around 35 metres towards vacant on the side trying to latch onto a catch off his own bowling. The batsman in question was Shabbir Rahaman (30, 26 balls), whose lusty blows towards the end gave Bangladesh’s total, a semblance of respectability.