India clinches eight wicket victory

Chasing just 178 for victory, India got past their target with 11.3 overs to spare.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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India beat Bangladesh by eight wickets in their first super league match of the IndianOil Asia Cup at Colombo. Indians bundled out Bangladeshis for a paltry 177 after winning the toss and electing to field. The Indians then overhauled the Bangladeshi score in just 38.3 overs to score a convincing win thanks to some excellent batting by master blaster Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Sourav Ganguly. Tendulkar gave ample display of his all-round abilities as India showed signs of returning to top form ahead of the crucial match against arch rivals Pakistan on Friday. Tendulkar snared three Bangladesh wickets before hitting up his highest-ever score of 82 not out against the minnows. Setting the pace Much of the credit for setting up the win went to off spinner Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra although it was Irfan Pathan (3/32) and Sachin Tendulkar who did the maximum damage after some initial wayward bowling by the pacemen. Harbhajan marked his return to international cricket after an eight-month injury layoff with impressive figures of 10-2-20-1 on a placid track at the SSC ground after Sourav Ganguly won the toss and elected to bowl. Nehra, playing his first match of the tournament in place of an injured Zaheer Khan, also did not disappoint with some disciplined bowling in the middle overs. Run chase In their run chase, India lost opener Virender Sehwag early but Tendulkar combined with Ganguly (60) put on 154 runs for the second wicket and to take the team to a facile win. The victory earned India six points including a bonus point. The Indians will now take on arch-rival Pakistan in their next Super League match on Sunday. Lusty hitting Bangladesh, 117 for 7 at one stage, were helped by some lusty hitting by tailenders Manjural Islam (21), Khalid Mahmood (21) and Abdur Razzaq (22). Razzaq picked Sehwag for some special treatment, hitting the part-timer for a huge six and a four. Faizal Hossain was the other Bangladesh batsman who hit a six, in Harbhajan's first over. But the 'Turbanator' regrouped well and bowled a tight spell in the middle overs to squeeze the run flow. Pathan provided his usual breakthroughs at the start, picking back to back wickets in his second over and returning to take the last wicket with a brilliant yorker that uprooted the stumps of Razzaq. Losing wickets Earlier, Ashraful and Kapali held steadfast for a few overs before Nehra had the latter caught behind in his very first over. Nehra had Alok Kapali caught behind by Rahul Dravid for 10. Kapali had added 46 runs for the third wicket with opener Mohammad Ashraful. Bangladesh were pushed down to 92 for 5 when two wickets fell in Harbhajan's sixth over, one by way of a run-out. The off-spinner pushed through a delivery, which trapped Hossain (17) in front of the stumps and then Ashraful could not beat a direct throw from Yuvraj Singh at midwicket after making 35 from 69 balls with three fours. Tendulkar's charge Tendulkar then took centrestage, taking the next three wickets to fall with a mix of off-break and leg spin deliveries. Khaled Mashud (12) was caught behind, Mohammad Rafique was bowled trying to cut and Manjural (21) was bowled round his legs. India rung in three changes in their side with Harbhajan, VVS Laxman and Ashish Nehra coming in place of Anil Kumble, Parthiv Patel and Zaheer Khan. Four teams - India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh - comprise the super league after Hong Kong and UAE were eliminated in the first phase of the six-nation tournament. (With PTI inputs)