by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
Virat Kohli’s consistent performance during average chases isn’t a slight on his skill. Its regularity showcases his drive to capitalize on every beginning. Thursday saw him reach his 48th ODI century, drawing parallels with the legend he celebrated with in April 2011—a moment that touched an entire nation’s heart.
The stage for Kohli’s captivating innings, a balance between personal achievement and team triumph, was set by Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill’s impressive opening partnership. Their 88-run stand in pursuit of a 257 target showcased mastery, with Rohit’s elegant shots and Gill’s steady acceleration. However, their unexpected dismissals paved the way for Kohli’s reliable ODI mastery. Significant contributions from Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul further sealed India’s victory, aligning them with New Zealand at the top, whom they face next in Dharamsala.
Ravindra Jadeja played a pivotal role, both as a bowler and fielder. His figures, 2 for 38, were instrumental in curbing a charging Bangladesh.
Transitioning from 10 for 0 to 47 in nine overs, Tanzid Hasan swiftly aimed for a half-century. He confidently faced bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah and Shardul Thakur, marking the tone of the game. Yet, Kuldeep Yadav’s spin offered India a breakthrough in the 15th over.
A concerning moment for India was Hardik Pandya’s ankle injury. His early exit posed questions about India’s bowling strategy. However, Shardul made a comeback, even securing a wicket.
Pandya’s absence with the ball and bat might later reveal a deeper concern about the team’s balance. While Kuldeep managed to regulate the run rate, Jadeja’s precision claimed significant wickets, and at 137 for 4, Bangladesh’s strategy shifted.
Mushfiqur Rahim tried to maintain momentum, but the mounting pressure from non-performing players led to risks. Jadeja’s spectacular catch dismissed Mushfiqur at 43, followed by other exceptional fielding moments that hindered Bangladesh’s progression.
The chase was challenging but India’s intent was evident. Rohit’s aggressive approach was halted at 48. Kohli, however, began dynamically, turning free hits into significant scores and demonstrating his prowess, especially against Hasan Mahmud.
Gill’s dismissal was unexpected, but Shreyas Iyer’s and Rahul’s steady hands ensured the momentum was intact. As the finish line approached, with India and Kohli both requiring 19, there was speculation about Kohli’s milestone. But in the end, with a powerful shot to the stands, he secured both his century and India’s victory.