Ro, Boom and Hardik seal India’s semi-final deal

India needed one win to make it through to the semi-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, and for Bangladesh it was a must-win match – a near perfect recipe for a high-voltage encounter in Birmingham. And, the two teams dished out a superb game of cricket.

The Edgbaston crowd was on its feet, cheering and applauding for yet another Rohit Sharma masterclass. The Hitman elevated his game to a supreme level as he scored his fourth CWC ’19 hundred. Bangladesh, knowing how their World Cup hopes were on the line, fought valiantly with their go-to man Shakib Al Hasan leading charge. However, it was not meant to be as the Men in Blue deservingly got their name stamped on the second semi-final spot.

Virat Kohli elected to bat first as Team India played with two changes – Bhuvneshwar Kumar made his way back into the side and Dinesh Karthik made his World Cup debut. Rohit and KL Rahul did not take too long to settle at the crease. Unlike against England, the opening pair and Rohit in particular commanded the proceedings. His 26th ODI century saw him play with timing and grace that made the journey of the ball springing out from his willow to the boundary a treat to watch. Seven fours and five maximums made for the Hitman’s 92-ball 104. Rahul, though nervy at times, played a handy 77-run knock. Rishabh Pant, too, after his shaky World Cup debut looked more confident in his 48 run-stay in the middle.

Mustafizur Rahman was the stand-out bowler for Bangladesh as the seamer finished with impressive figures of 5/59. On his hitlist today were names like Kohli, Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni making his fife-fer more important for his team. After the glorious 180-run opening stand, India were looking well on course for a much bigger total, but Bangladesh did a commendable job in limiting them to 314 in their 50 overs.

Playing with only one spinner today, India had more options to give the new-ball duties to. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar started impressively against the Bangladeshi openers. Although Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar got off to a start, Mohammed Shami’s wicket-taking routine got India the first breakthrough - Tamim. Shakib, as seen on many occasions, was the main-stay for Bangladesh. His half-century added to his already stellar spell of two hundreds and three fifties at this World Cup.

However, it was Hardik Pandya who got the better of the opposition batsmen as he got three to his name, getting past 50 ODI wickets. While India had more than half of the Bangladeshi side back in the shed, an unlikely 66-run partnership was brought up by Mohammad Saifuddin and Sabbir Rahman. But, Bumrah came up with a flurry of wickets as he bagged four wickets towards the end of the Bangladeshi innings. It was a Boom delivery that ended the match and Bangladesh’s hopes of a World Cup semi-final.

This win means India have a ‘Q’ in front of their name, confirming their qualification to the next stage of this tournament with one game to spare. The Men in Blue will now play Sri Lanka on Saturday, 6th June.