By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Dhaka : Mahendra Singh Dhoni, overcoming leg cramps, and Dinesh Karthik scored half-centuries to propel India to a five-wicket win over Bangladesh in a rain-affected first One-day International here Thursday in the three-match series.
Dhoni, who limped for most part of his three-hour knock, missed his third century by nine runs (91 not out, 106 balls, 7x4s), and the newly-married Karthik scored a fine unbeaten 58 (61 balls, 4x4s) and raised 107 match-winning runs off 108 balls for the sixth wicket to seal the win with one over to spare.
Chasing Bangladesh's 250 for seven wickets in 47 overs, India ended up with 251 for five in 46 overs in a match reduced by a total of six overs due to morning drizzle. And moments after India's win at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, the rains lashed the ground again.
Virender Sehwag chipped in with 30 (21 balls, 4x4s) and captain Rahul Dravid made 22. Although Yuvraj Singh managed only one with the bat, he gave admirable support to Dhoni's as runner.
Dhoni was lucky too, as his runner Yuvraj survived an extremely close run out attempt when India needed 41 off 41 balls. Karthik, a wicket-keeper who played as a specialist batsman, too was impetuous in his running between the wickets, especially with Yuvraj, who refused risky runs a few times.
But it was the grit of Dhoni, who later said the conditions were not conducive to batting because of the afternoon heat, and the fleet-footedness of Karthik, who got married a few days before the team arrived here, that carried the day for India.
From the last two overs India needed 12 runs, but the runs were scored in the penultimate over itself.
The second match of the current series will be played at the same venue Saturday.
This was the first match for both teams after the World Cup in March-April. Bangladesh had beaten India in a group match, a result that ensured the exit of Dravid's team in the first round, while Bangladesh progressed to the second round in the West Indies.
Bangladesh missed their strike bowler Mashrafe Mortaza due to back spasm, and Shahadat Hossain replaced him.
Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir gave India a brisk start. Chasing Bangladesh's total at the required rate of 5.34, they began by scoring at a rate of seven per over. But in their effort to speed up the scoring rate, Gambhir (21, 17 balls, 4x4s) was out leg before the wicket off Rasel in the fifth over.
Indian batsmen continued to gather quick runs, and in the process lost two more wickets – that of Sehwag and Yuvraj – between the sixth and 10th over.
Sehwag was going strong when he drove Syed Rasel on the off side to be brilliantly caught by a diving Sakibul Hasan. Two overs later, Yuvraj gave a tame catch to Abdur Razzak at extra cover off Hossain as he seemed to check his stroke. India slipped to 63 for three.
Captain Dravid and Dinesh Mongia, picked as a bowling all-rounder, then restored sanity to the proceedings with their 49-run association for the fourth wicket. Dravid was eventually out when he tried to drive Hasan but spooned a tame catch to Razzaq at point off.
Mongia contributed 17 before perishing, also off Hasan, to allow Dhoni, who had kept wickets in the morning, and Karthik to get involved a brave match-winning partnership.
Rasel and Hasan took two wickets each.
Earlier, Javed Omar scored his career's 10th half-century to propel Bangladesh to a competitive total. Omar and Tamim Iqbal gave a whirlwind start to the innings as they scored at a rate of six runs per over initially, backed by a cheering but clearly biased packed house.
Iqbal was more severe as he drove and cut pacer Sreesanth for boundaries in the fourth over. This was an over after Omar had cut Zaheer Khan to the point boundary.
Omar, however, missed what would have been his maiden century. He was dismissed by Khan when 20 short of the three-figure mark (80, 116 balls, 7x4s, 2x6s).
Omar's opening partnership of 78 with Iqbal laid the solid foundation for a tall total. Iqbal also played well for his 45 (53 balls, 6x4s) and provided good support to Omar and entertainment for a packed house.
Iqbal became the first man to be out when Sehwag took a well- judged running catch off left-arm spinner Mongia when the batsman tried to clear the rope.
After Iqbal's exit captain Habibul Bashar failed to keep the momentum going, and off-spinner Ramesh Powar had him caught by Gautam Gambhir for nought.
But Iqbal and Hasan joined hands to wrest the momentum back with the highest partnership of the innings – 107 for the third wicket – as the six-man Indian bowling attack failed to make an impression on a pitch that provided little assistance to them.
They bowled the wrong line and length, which made the task of the already pepped up Bangladeshi team easier.
Hasan, playing his 50th match, went on to score his fifth half-century. At 50, Dhoni stumped him off Mongia (68 balls, 2x4s) to signal the end of his knock.
Mohammad Ashraful, playing his 100th match, and Aftab Ahmed then scored 36 for the fifth wicket to provide further solidity to the total. Vice-captain Ashraful was finally bowled by Mongia when he was looking for quick runs towards the end of the innings.
Aftab Ahmed hit 16 off 16 balls and Mohammad Rafique hammed 11 off seven as the total touched 250-run mark.
Mongia was the best bowler with three wickets while Powar took two. Sreesanth left the field after bowling five overs and although he returned to the field he did not bowl any more.
1st One-day International, India vs. Bangladesh,
Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Javed Omar run out (Khan) 80
Tamim Iqbal c Sehwag b Mongia 45
Habibul Bashar c Gambhir b Powar 0
Saqibul Hasan st Dhoni b Mongia 50
Mohammad Ashraful b Mongia 29
Aftab Ahmed lbw b Sehwag 16
Mohammad Rafique c Karthik b Powar 11
Mushfiqur Rahim not out 1
Extras: (leg bye 1, wides 13, no balls 4) 18
Total: (for seven wickets in 47 overs) 250
Fall of wickets: 1-78 (Iqbal, 16.5 overs), 2-78 (Bashar, 17.2), 3-185 (Omar, 38.5), 4-200 (Hasan, 40.6), 5-236 (Ashraful, 44.6), 6-240 (Ahmed, 45.6), 7-250 (Rafique, 46.6)
Zaheer Khan 7 1 54 0 (4nb, 2w)
Sreesanth 5 1 14 0 (1w)
Munaf Patel 7 1 31 0 (2w)
Ramesh Powar 10 0 55 2
Dinesh Mongia 10 0 49 3
Virender Sehwag 8 0 46 1 (2w)
Virender Sehwag c Hasan b Rasel 30
Gautam Gambhir lbw b Rasel 21
Mahendra Singh Dhoni not out 91
Yuvraj Singh c Razzak b Hossain 1
Rahul Dravid c Razzak b Hasan 22
Dinesh Mongia c Ahmed b Hasan 17
Dinesh Karthik not out 58
Extras: (lb 4, w 6, nb 1) 11
Total: (for five wickets in 46 overs) 251
Fall of wickets: 1-35 (Gambhir, 4.5 overs), 2-56 (Sehwag, 6.6), 3-63 (Yuvraj, 9.1), 4-112 (Dravid, 20.5), 5-144 (Mongia, 28.1)
Syed Rasel 9 0 66 2
Shahadat Hossain 7 0 43 1 (1nb, 2w)
Abdur Razzak 9 1 35 0 (3w)
Mohammad Rafique 10 0 47 0 (1w)
Saqibul Hasan 9 0 43 2
Aftab Ahmed 2 0 13 0
Result: India won by five wickets
Man of the Match: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India) Umpires: Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) and Nadir Shah (Bangladesh)
TV umpire: A.F.M. Akhtaruddin (Bangladesh)
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka)