Jasprit Bumrah bowled two perfect yorkers to end Bangladesh's resistance as India marched into the World Cup semifinals here on Tuesday. A target of 315 was very challenging but Bangladesh, who managed 286 in 48 overs, were not daunted.
They fought hard and never let the run rate get out of control. But losing wickets regularly did not help their cause. And then, there was Bumrah.
India (314/9) failed to put up the total they should have after a fabulous 180-run opening stand between and KL Rahul. The acceleration in the final overs never came. Just like Sunday, when Joe Root had spilled a dolly and Sharma had gone on to make a hundred, the One-day master got an early reprieve and made Bangladesh pay.
It was Tamim Iqbal who dropped an easy chance when Sharma was on nine. The opener had tried a pull off Mustafizur Rahman and skied it. Sharma, who had already made an opening statement with a majestic pulled six in the first over of the day itself, celebrated the reprieve with another six in the next over, by charging down and whacking Mohammad Saifuddin over extra cover for a titanic six.
With Rahul, taking a cue from his senior partner, also getting into the act, the day was set for a sumptuous batting treat. It came in the shape of a 180-run stand, the biggest for the opening wicket in this World Cup so far. The Sharma-Rahul tango also ensured that it was the first time a team had not lost a wicket in the first 25 overs in the tournament.
But India's final total did not do justice to the openers' contribution, failing about 20 short of the target the team would have looked at after the first 25 overs. After Rohit and Rahul were dismissed, Virat Kohli, once again looking in glorious touch, perished against the run of play. It was the young and adventurous Rishabh Pant (48 off 41 balls) who ensured that India had a big enough total on the board.
Towards the end of the innings, all eyes were on MS Dhoni. The veteran got 33 off 31 balls as India managed a modest 63 in the last 10 overs. Against England, India had struggled to get off the blocks, limping to 28 in the first 10 overs. Against a much friendlier attack, Sharma and Rahul made sure the initiative was India's by smashing 69 in the first Powerplay.
Also, India had but one six against England, that too coming in the final over of the innings. On Tuesday, they had a total of seven with Sharma accounting for five. As has been the pattern in the World Cup, Bangladesh fought valiantly. And yet again, it was Shakib Al Hasan, the MVP of the tournament, who led the way with a composed 66 off 74 balls.
After his dismissal, Sabbir Rahman and Mohammad Saifuddin gave a scare to the favourites with a 66-run stand for the seventh wicket. It was left to Bumrah to deal a decisive blow for India when he had Sabbir bowled with a slow off-cutter.