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Dhoni sees India home
10 May 2007
By: Manan Shah

India got off to a good start on their tour of Bangladesh with a five wicket victory in Dhaka today. Rains threatened to spoil the fun, but after a short delay, the game started as a 47 overs per side event. Habibul Bashar won the toss and chose to bat on a surface that seemed batting friendly, but would undoubtedly assist spin as the game wore on.

The Bangladeshi openers, Tamim Iqbal and Javed Omar got off to excellent starts, as Bangladesh were cruising at 78-0 and India were forced to bring on the spinners.

However, India struck twice in four balls as Dinesh Mongia and Ramesh Powar picked up a wicket each, and with the captain back in the pavilion, India were in with a chance.

Unfortunately for them, Omar and Saqibul Hasan put on a magnificent 105 run partnership and at 183-2 with ten overs to go, India were facing the prospect of chasing a score in excess of 275. However, Bangladesh were unable to accelerate due to wickets falling at regular intervals, with five wickets falling in the last nine overs, and Bangladesh were left with a decent, but not extravagant score of 250.

Considering their recent batting form, India would have to bat extremely well to chase down 250 against a very good Bangladeshi spin attack. The openers began well, with Gambhir in particular looking to be in good touch, but as usual Gambhir gave his wicket away when he was trapped plumb in front by Syed Rasel. In a surprise move,
Dhoni came out to bat at three, as India were looking to score runs off the new ball, before the Bangaldeshi spinners came out to suffocate the run rate.

Unfortunately, Sehwag did not last long either, falling on 30 after a fantastic catch by Saqibul Hasan off Sayed Rasal. Yuvraj Singh went two overs later, when he mistimed a drive and the ball landed squarely in the hands off Abdur Razzak. Dravid and Dhoni tried to consolidate the innings and for ten overs, they cut back on the run rate and focused on keeping the wickets.

However, Bangladesh struck in the 21st over, when Dravid was dismissed on 22 by Saqibul Hasan. Dinesh Mongia went soon after, making only 17 and India were staring at another humiliating defeat at the hands of Bangladesh.

Karthik came in at 144-5 as the last recognized batsman and it was up to the two wicketkeepers to keep the chase going. Karthik was lucky to get away from a sure stumping in his first over, but after that he opened up his shots and played his natural aggressive game. Dhoni also seemed to come out of his shell as the innings went on, and the two wicket keepers calmly rotated the strike on most balls, and put away the bad balls to the boundary.

The calm calculation of the chase was in contrast to the usual effort put forth by the Indians recently, and it was heartening to see two young batsman responsible for guiding the team home.

In the end, the total was made to look easy, and on the back of a 107 run partnership, India glided home with an over and five wickets to spare.

Bangladesh 250/7 (47 overs)
Javed Omar 80, Saqibul Hasan 50, Tamim Iqbal 45
D Mongia 3-49, RR Powar 2-55

India 251-5 (46.0 overs)
MS Dhoni 91*, Dinesh Karthik 58*
Saqibul Hasan 2-43, Syed Rassal 2-66

Cricket Web Man of the Match: MS Dhoni 91*

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