Dhoni, Kohli save India Bangla blushes

MS Dhoni's unbeaten 101 and Virat Kohli's gritty 91 runs helped India beat Bangladesh by 6 wickets in the third ODI of the tri-series in Mirpur.

updated: January 08, 2010 18:14 IST
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Mahendra Singh Dhoni led from the front with a crafty unbeaten 101 as India recovered from early jolt to register comprehensive six-wicket win over Bangladesh in the third match of the cricket tri-series on Thursday.

Chasing 297 for victory under lights, India were precariously placed at 51 for three before Dhoni combined with Virat Kohli (91) and Suresh Raina (51 not out off 43) to steer the team to victory with 15 balls to spare.

Dhoni not only notnched up his seventh ODI century but paced his innings brilliantly to share a 152-run foruth wicket stand with Kohli to put India on course of the victory.

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Dhoni, who was let off on 61 and struck nine fours in his 107-ball knock, got admirable support from young Kohli, who hit seven fours during his 102-ball knock.

India, however, were dealt with some early blows by the Bangladeshi bowlers as openers Gautam Gambhir (18), Virender Sehwag (1) and Yuvraj Singh (1) all feel cheaply inside the first nine overs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Suresh Raina, who hit five fours and a six during his unbeaten knock, hit the winning runs - a boundary - to take India to 297 for four to the stunned silence of 25,000-odd Bangladesh supporters.

Young Kohli, who hit his fourth ODI fifty in his 17th match, was unlucky to miss out on his second hundred by nine runs as he was caught and bowled by Bangladesh captain Sakib al Hasan in the 35th over.

For Bangladesh, Sayed Rasel, Rubel Hossain and Sakib took one wicket apiece.

Earlier, Bangladesh posted the competitive target, their highest one-day score against India, riding on opener Imrul Kayes' 70 and identical quickfire 60s from Tamim Iqbal and Mahamadullah after their captain Sakib al Hasan won the toss and surprsisingly elected to bat.

With this win, India recorded their first victory of the tournament as well of the year and are in second spot behind Sri Lanka in the points after all the three sides have played two matches each.

Dhoni's men now play Sri Lanka, to whom they lost their opening match on Tuesday, on Sunday, while Bangladesh, who are still to open their account, play Sri Lanka on Friday in a must-win match.

It was like starting from the scratch for Dhoni and Kohli with the duo, who came together at the crease in the ninth over, shunned risks by scoring mostly in singles and doubles with ocassional boundaries, thereby not allowing the asking rate to rise high. They took 67 balls to notch up their first 50 partnership and the next 50 came from 52 deliveries.

Bangladesh missed a chance to press for a win as captain Sakib dropped his Indian counterpart in the 33rd over when on 61 which eventually proved costly.

By the time Kohli was out, India needed 94 for 15 overs with six wickets in hand.

India presented Bangladesh an early breakthrough with a casual-looking Sehwag (13) who was run out.

Sehwag, who began in characteristic fashion with two fours in the third over, ran for a single after Abdur Razzak misfielded off his own bowling but the Bangladeshi left-arm spinner came up with a direct hit to dismiss the right-hander.

Gambhir (18) and new man Kohli then milked 16 runs in the sixth over off Razzak before the former dragged one from Rubel Hossain onto his stumps.

More trouble were in store for India as five balls later it was reduced to 51 for three with pacer Syed Rasel disturbing Yuvraj Singh's (1) off-stump.

Earlier, Kayes top-scored with 70 off 100 balls with the help of five fours and a six while his opening partner Iqbal made a quick 42-ball 60 which was studded with 10 fours and a six to propel Bangladesh to competitive total.

Mahmadullah used his long handle to great effect towards the end with a quickfire 45-ball 60 to pile up 88 runs in the last 10 overs.

Indian pacers lacklustre performance continued as Zaheer Khan, who did not open the bowling on Thursday, bled 43 runs from his six overs without any wicket while Ashish Nehra conceded 44 runs from his six overs with a wicket against his name.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who picked up three wickets against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, failed to impress with figures of one for 56 while Ravindra Jadeja finished with figures of 1/45.

Left-arm spinner Yuvraj was the best among the lot as he took one wicket at the expense of 33 runs from his 10 overs.

Bangladesh, who lost the tournament opener against Sri Lanka by seven wickets, started with a bang with Iqbal and Kayes putting a 73-run opening stand in 11 overs.

But the duo seemed to have lost the plot in the mid overs with part-timer Yuvraj and young spinner Jadeja bowling in tandem. But Tamim gave the Bangladesh fans enough occasions to cheer, racing on to his 50 in just 33 balls.

Zaheer, who came as first change for S Sreesanth, was given scant respect as he leaked 19 runs from his first spell.

The Bangladesh run flow could have been stopped early but for butter-finger Harbhajan who dropped a sitter at midwicket in the fifth over after Kayes top-edged an Ashish Nehra ball.

However, Sreesanth got rid of dangerous Iqbal in the 11th over with Gautam Gambhir holding the catch but not before the left-hander had given his side a strong platform.

With his pace bowlers and main spinner bleeding runs, Dhoni turned to young Jadeja and part-timer Yuvraj and his decision worked as runs dried up.

Jadeja provided the breakthrough by clean-bowling Mohammad Ashraful (29) in the 28th over. Two overs later, a direct throw by Zaheer found Bangladesh skipper Sakibul Hasan short of the wicket to mark India's comeback into the match.

Kayes departed in the 35th over as his mistimed pull shot off Nehra landed at Virat Kohli's hand at deep square leg.

Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim (6) did not last long either as he became Yuvraj's first victim and then Raqibul Hasan followed suit after making a well-made 40-ball 32.

But Mahamadullah in Naeem Islam's company ignited fire as they duo shared an unbeaten 58-run seventh wicket to take Bangladesh to the competitive total.