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World Cup 2019: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya star as India beat Bangladesh to enter semi-finals

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India defeated Bangladesh by 28 runs at Edgbaston on Tuesday to enter the semi-finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. India have now reached the semi-finals in 3 successive World Cups. They won the tournament in 2011, lost to Australia in the semi-finals in 2015 and now have the chance to win their 3rd World Cup.

Rohit Sharma did the star turn for India yet again. He became only the 2nd batsman after Kumar Sangakkara to hit 4 hundreds in a single World Cup and in the process became the leading run-scorer in this World Cup.

KL Rahul hit 66 while Rishabh Pant smashed an enterprising 48 before Hardik Pandya starred with the ball to ensure India reached the last-four with one game still left to play.

Chasing 315, Bangladesh were in the hunt till the 34th over but all their hopes were dashed when Shakib Al Hasan fell to Hardik Pandya.

Shakib is now the second highest run-scorer in the 2019 World Cup. He held the key to a historic run chase for Bangladesh and even as wickets fell at the other end, Shakib led a spirited fight against India. But it wasn’t enough after Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das failed to make useful contributions.

Bangladesh made a promising enough start but Mohammed Shami made the first breakthrough to remove the dangerous Tamim Iqbal. Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah picked key wickets at key moments as well but Hardik Pandya’s variations and clever change in pace worked wonders for India.

Sabbir Rahman, who replaced Mahmudullah in the Bangladesh playing XI on Tuesday, played a few sterling shots to give his team a ray of hope.

Sabbir found good support in Mohammad Saifuddin and the duo brought up a 50-run stand off 43 balls in the 41st over. Bangladesh needed 86 off the last 9 overs but it was always going to be difficult from thereon with 3 overs left for each of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.

Sabbir Rahman kept Bangladesh on course but Jasprit Bumrah returned for his final spell and removed him with his first ball. From thereon, there was only one winner: India.

Bangladesh had qualified for the quarterfinals of the 2015 World Cup and they were in the hunt for a berth in the semi-finals before running into a top quality Indian bowling attack.

Earlier after winning the toss, India opted to bat and showed much better intent. Rohit Sharma has been one of the most dangerous batsmen in the World Cup so far and on Tuesday, he showed exactly why he has scored so many runs at the top over the last 4 years.

Rohit Sharma was fluent and classy. He pierced the gaps with ease, hit 5 sixes and ran hard. At the other end, KL Rahul took his time but got into a nice rhythm to hit his second half-century of the World Cup.

Rohit and Rahul added 180 for the first wicket – India’s highest opening stand in World Cup history. This was also the higehst opening stand for any team in the 2019 World Cup.

Rohit Sharma looked in breathtaking touch and brought up his 3rd successive hundred against Bangladesh in an ICC tournament. He was primed for a big innings but fell to Soumya Sarkar in the 30th over. His wicket set India back for the remainder of the innings.

KL Rahul fell for 77 in the 33rd over while Virat Kohli perished to Mustafizur Rahman in the 39th over. Rishabh Pant, playing only his 2nd World Cup match, showed far more intent than some other senior colleagues. He raced away to 48 but fell within touching distance of his maiden ODI fifty.

MS Dhoni, who was booed by the crowd and criticised by two former international captains for his go-slow approach against England, did not do much better against Bangladesh. He scored only 35 off 33 balls on a pitch where batsmen have thrived. In a telling stat, India managed only 63 runs for the last of 5 wickets in the last 10 overs.

On Tuesday, India dropped Kedar Jadhav and Kuldeep Yadav and brought in Dinesh Karthik and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Kedar, along with Dhoni, drew severe critcism for his lack of intent in the defeat to England.

Bangladesh will next take on Pakistan on July 5 while India finish their group stage with a game against Sri Lanka at Leeds on July 6.

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