Chasing a total of 348 is, to say the least, daunting and when it�s being chased by minnows like Bangladesh it�s as good as impossible. One would have expected an explosive opening duo to be sent in, well to the surprise of many Rajin walked in with Nafees to open. Rajin has been terribly out of form in both Tests and ODIs in recent time and this move did raise a few eyebrows. Both of them made a cautious start, runs coming only in extras as Agarkar and Zaheer found it difficult to fall into their rhythm. Nafees soon unleashed some classy strokes and Rajin after a rather defensive start suddenly shed his shell and launched himself at the India. Nafees edged one to Dhoni off Agarkar and once again no feet movement whatsoever. Rafique came in to bat and lasted only for a while and gave an easy catch off Zaheer to Dravid at first slip for a duck. The captain came into bat and once again you could see the promise but once again an edge off Agarkar caused his fall. Dhoni takes his second victim for the day.
Ashraful came in to bat with much confidence and batted very well with Rajin and did the buildup of the innings. The required RR was piling up but it seemed Bangladesh wasn�t really going for the win anyway. An attempt to set respectability to the margin of loss was on their mind and they worked well together to get there. They picked on Jogindar Sharma and every now and then dispatched the ball to the ropes. The 50 run partnership came at run-a-ball. Rajin was on 49 when Ashraful charged down the pitch for double completely unaware of the fact that Rajin was calling off the run. Ashraful and Rajin were both at the strikers end when the bails were removed at the other end. It was indeed a mistake by Ashraful as Rajin never even attempted the second run although some may argue that a double was a possible. Rajin completed his half century soon after. The crowd apparently didn�t cheer for him for the half century, evidently blaming him for the run out.
However he kept going and he seemed set to be the second Bangladeshi to score an ODI century. Afatb Ahmed on the other hand provided nice support but he fell caught behind off Harbhajan, a faint edge that Dhoni didn�t miss. Pilot came in and tried to sweep his way around but the blow came when Rajin was left stranded as Tendulkar deceived him and Dhoni had ample time to rattle the stumps. He was out for 82 his personal best in ODIs. It was inroads from there on. Pilot fell trying to sweep a Tendulkar delivery that straightened instead of going down the leg. Mahmud fell trying to clear the midwicket fence but all was not over.
Ganguly brought in irregular bowlers like Yuvraj and Sehwag to bowl at the later overs. By then it was evident that all was over and the match was indeed in the bag and sealed. Mushfiq stroked around singles and doubles while Mashrafe used the long handle the way he knows best. He whacked HUGE sixes and blazing fours off Sehwag and Tendulkar. His impudence was taken to heart by Tendulkar which he clearly expressed after getting him stumped as he tried to heave another six. Tendulkar waved goodbye with a wry smile but definitely Mashrafe had already won the battle against him with the towering six he had hit the previous ball. Mashrafe departed for 39 off 20 balls with 3 sixes and 3 fours. Tendulkar gave away some careless extras in the last delivery and Bangladesh ended up with some extra runs in their total and ended the day on 257 for nine.
The game was hardly competitive. It was over even before Bangladesh came into bat but although Bangladesh never looked like giving the target a chase they didn�t just sit around doing nothing. Rajin�s towering six off Harbhajan and magnificent hooks, pulls and late cuts were indeed a joy to watch and everyone will hope it marks his return to form. The tigers didn�t completely allow the Indians to walk over them. The memories of the win from the previous night still burns brightly within them as they go for a much deserved rest before the upcoming home series against the Zimbabweans.
The author is a distinguished member of banglacricket forum and goes by the nick "radicalsami" - editors