India beat Bangladesh, meet Pakistan in Sunday's final

15 June 2017 09:16 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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India pair Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have put on a masterful batting display in their Champions Trophy semi-final against Bangladesh at Edgbaston to storm into Sunday's decider against Pakistan.

Rohit (123no) and Shikhar Dhawan (46) combined for an 87-run stand to get the defending champions off to a perfect start in their pursuit of 265, before Kohli (96no) – at his clinical finishing best – teamed up with his opener to race to victory with nine wickets and 59 balls to spare.

Rohit has played second fiddle to the in-form Dhawan through much of the tournament, but it was the former who shone brightest in Birmingham, earning the man-of-the-match award for his 129-ball knock that anchor what at times looked an effortless chase.

The opening pair are now the tournament's top two run-scorers (Dhawan 317, Rohit 304), but perhaps most pleasingly for Indian supporters was the crispness with which Kohli went about his work, as the skipper looked every bit at the top of his game during a stunning innings that included 13 fours and took just 78 balls.

The form of India's top three sets up a fascinating final battle with Pakistan's pace attack, who have been the dominant bowling group of the tournament and will be desperate for early wickets to expose a lower Indian batting order that has been light on work for much of this Champions Trophy. 

Earlier, a century partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim provided the backbone of Bangladesh's 7-264.  The Tigers lost Sounya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman early on, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-51) taking both wickets, before Tamim (70) and Mushfiqur (61) teamed up for a 123-run stand to dominate the first half of the innings.

But Tamim's wicket – bowled by spinner Kedar Jadhav (2-22) – was the first of three to fall in the space of eight overs, as the Tigers lost fellow big guns Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur to the spin of Ravi Jadeja (1-48) and Jadhav respectively, putting the brakes on an innings that had at one point threatened to be comfortably in excess of 300.

Tamim was dismissed from a no-ball but again exhibited the kind of form that has made him the tournament's leading run-scorer, while he found excellent support in the busy and inventive Mushfiqur, who posted his second half-century of the tournament.

But the loss of 3-25 in that middle period resulted in a momentum shift, as India reined in the Tigers with some clever spin bowling. Jasprit Bumrah (2-40) then returned to the crease to great effect, removing the dangerous Mosaddek Hossain (15) and Mahmudullah (21) as they threatened a late resurgence. In the end it was left to Mashrafe Mortaza (30no) and Taskin Ahmed (11no) to push the score beyond 250 and towards one they'll be hoping they can defend.

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