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Friday, Sep 30, 2022
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TVS Cup

Gambhir Steers India Into Final

The south paw makes amends for his early failures with a sparkling 71 which helps India overhaul Bangladesh's modest 207 to record their third consecutive victory.

Gambhir Steers India Into Final
Gautam Gambhir | AP
Gambhir Steers India Into Final
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Young Gautam Gambhir struck his maiden half century as India moved into the final of the TVS Cup with a four-wicket victory over hosts Bangladesh at the Bangabandhu Stadium today.

The left-handed Gambhir made amends for his early failures with a sparkling 71 which helped India overhaul Bangladesh's score of 207 with 7.1 overs to spare to record their third consecutive victory in the tournament.

The Indians gave a chance to all the newcomers in the squad but still proved to be too strong for the struggling hosts whose winless streak extended to 35 matches with today's defeat.

Gambhir, who had scores of 11 and 18 in the two previous matches, justified the faith reposed on him by the team management to anchor the Indian run chase after stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag had given a flying start.

The Indians made life a little difficult for themselves by losing three wickets in quick succession at the home stretch with Gambhir, Mohammad Kaif (20) and Sanjay Bangar (7) returning to the pavilion. But Dinesh Mongia, who remained unbeaten on 16, anchored the side past the target.

Earlier, Bangladesh batsmen put up a much improved performance and, thanks to a fine half-century by Habibul Bashar, crossed the 200-run mark for the first time in 18 innings. Akram Khan (35) and Mehrab Hossain (30) also made important contributions.

The Indian riposte began on a blazing note with Sehwag turning on the heat with some glorious shots on both sides of the wicket.

Sehwag, leading the country for the first time after Saurav Ganguly decided to give some rest to his injured back, smashed the first ball from Tapash Baisya to the boundary while Gambhir also got into the act hitting a couple of boundaries to take India to 50 in quick time.

The dashing Sehwag singled out paceman Tareq Aziz for special treatment clobbering him for four consecutive boundaries in the 8th over of the innings. But he threw away his wicket once again when, going for a mighty heave, he gave a catch to Aziz at long-off.

The prized scalp of Sehwag, who faced 44 balls in a typically belligerent knock that included eight boundaries, was claimed by spinner Mohammad Rafique.

Young Parthiv Patel was promoted in the batting order and joined Gambhir after the captain's dismissal. The two youngters played sensibly and took the team towards the victory target without taking too many risks.

Both kept the scoreboard ticking at a decent rate going for the occasional boundary to take the score to 117 before spinner Alok Kapali provided the breakthrough in his first over. 

Kapali trapped Patel leg before wicket as the batsman went for a sweep. Patel made 27 runs from 52 balls.

Bangladeshi captain Khaled Mahmud introduced both his spinners in a bid to put some pressure on the Indians but they seemed to make very little impact on the batsmen.

Gambhir grew in confidence and notched up his maiden half century with a delightful square drive to the boundary off Kapali. Gambhir put on 47 runs for the third wicket with Kaif before both these batsmen and Bangar were dismissed within a space of 14 runs.

Earlier, Bangladesh recovered from the early setbacks through fine knocks from Bashar, Akram and Hossain.

The Bangladeshi innings began on a disastrous note with Mohammad Ashraful, the top scorer in the last match against South Africa, returning to the pavillion with the score on 15.

Bashar and Mehrab Hossain made an effort to consolidate the position for the team but Sanjay Bangar broke the partnership with his very first ball, getting rid of Hossain for 30 which came off 35 balls.

The dismissal of Hossain triggered off a middle order collapse as two more wickets fell in quick succession to reduce the home team to 78 for four within the 21st over.

Bashar and Akram Khan put on 46 runs for the fifth wicket -- the highest of the innings -- in a rebuilding exercise as they kept the scoreboard moving without taking too many risks.

Bashar attacked the loose balls and played some glorious shots, particularly against leg spinner Amit Mishra.

The right-handed Bashar pushed Mishra for a single to notch up his half century but perished soon after to bring an end to the profitable partnership.

Bashar went for a big hit but could not time the ball properly and Mohammad Kaif took a simple catch at mid off. His 50 came off 94 balls, an effort which contained five fours.

Captain Khaled Mahmud hit a breezy 23 off 27 balls to accelerate the scoring in the slog overs.

PTI

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