Arms flung sideways, running with a tilt, Arshdeep Singh seemed like one of those planes descending into the nearby airport. There was joy coursing through the lanky youngster after his last over sealed the deal for India in a rain-affected nerve-wracking ICC Twenty20 World Cup match against Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday night.
Pitted against its subcontinental big brother, Bangladesh tends to punch above its weight. This trait is more pronounced in ICC events or the Asia Cup, like when it scripted a victory in a match where Sachin Tendulkar scored his hundredth international ton. Most often, India prevails, but there have been the odd banana-peel experience against its eastern neighbour.
Wednesday seemed headed that way, especially after Litton Das (60) batted with panache. He found the gaps, took his spots over the in-field, and it was breath-taking. A singular innings offering hope while other batting colleagues desert is an old cricketing trope and it was enacted again once the wet skies intervened.
In his elements
On resumption, momentum had shifted, a fact accentuated by Litton’s run-out effected by K.L. Rahul. The last-named had a remarkable day, scoring a 50 and offering India a piece of fielding brilliance. The vice-captain was a touch unlucky in not being adjudged the ‘man of the match’, a commendation that went to Virat Kohli (64 n.o.), who seems to be in his elements.
Perhaps the knowledge that the gifted Suryakumar Yadav follows him to the crease has bolstered Kohli’s verve. Batters and bowlers not only thrive on self-belief but also from the company they keep on the turf. If in his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kohli found an ally in AB de Villiers, he has Suryakumar in the blue shade.
What stood out in the contest against Bangladesh was the fielding. A skier is a difficult catch to take, the ball seems to hang in the air for eternity, and a fielder underneath can feel extremely lonely. Suryakumar and even Arshdeep did well to hold on to their chances.
High-pressure skirmishes are often the winning preserve of the more experienced side, and India proved that. “That break did it, the momentum changed,” Ravi Shastri said after winding up his commentary stint.
Has India ticked all the boxes? Not really, as there are issues. Litton showed that a batter on his day could unleash havoc on this attack even if the Indians recouped and delivered. Dinesh Karthik essayed a slog-sweep and seemed primed to deliver till he got embroiled in a run-out. And the catch he grassed off Litton wasn’t easy. But this is a unit that throws up surprises like the way R. Ashwin cleared the ropes in the last over!
As India heads to Melbourne for its Sunday’s fixture against Zimbabwe, there will be clarity on its semifinal prospects over the next few days. The players will put their feet up as rest is the key during a tournament that involves city-hopping and crazy flights.
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