Virender Sehwag’s swashbuckling 175 and Virat Kohli’s unbeaten century powered India to a 87-run victory over Bangladesh in the opening match of the World Cup in Mirpur, Bangladesh.
Sehwag’s 140-ball innings, studded with five sixes and 14 fours, and his 203-run stand for the third wicket with Kohli (100 not out) helped India rack up 370 for four, which eventually proved beyond the reach of the home team.
Opener Tamim Iqbal (70) and skipper Shakib Al Hasan (55) attempted to keep the chase afloat but India’s bowlers, led by Munaf Patel (four for 48), put the brakes as the Tigers finished at 283 for nine.
Batting first after losing the toss, Sehwag gave India a solid start as he added 69 with Sachin Tendulkar (28) and then 83 with Gautam Gambhir (39) after running out Tendulkar, playing his record sixth World Cup in a row.
Sehwag had the home team’s bowlers at his mercy throughout his blazing innings and brought up his second World Cup century off just 94 balls.
But it was the third-wicket partnership between him and Kohli that eventually took the match away from Bangladesh, who had knocked India out of the 2007 World Cup.
Sehwag batted with the help of a runner during the latter part of his innings and completed his 150 in 124 balls, taking India past 300 for two by the 42nd over.
Bangladesh had a respite 55 runs later when a tired Sehwag inside-edged Shakib onto his stumps but they could not deny Kohli his fifth ODI century, which came off just 83 balls.
In reply, Imrul Kayes (34 off 29 balls) bludgeoned Sreesanth to bring up Bangladesh’s 50 in just five overs before falling to Munaf.
Harbhajan Singh ended the 73-run second-wicket stand between Iqbal and Junaid Siddique (37 off 52 balls) when the off-spinner had the latter stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, bringing captain Shakib to the middle.
Iqbal added 59 with his captain in nine overs before Munaf scalped the opener to leave Bangladesh on 188 for three in 32nd over.
Shakib and the new batsman Mushfiqur Rahim attempted a fightback, but the left-hander departed for a 50-ball 55 after holing out in the deep off Yusuf Pathan.
With 135 required off the last 10 overs, Bangladesh lost wickets in a heap in their bid to catch up with the run rate.
Zaheer Khan claimed Mushfiqur (25) while Munaf sent back Mahmudullah (six) and Naeem Islam (two) as Bangladesh slumped to 275 for seven with three overs left.
Abdur Razzak became Zaheer’s second wicket in the next over and a direct throw from Harbhajan in the penultimate over sent back Shafiul Islam.
Raqibul Hasan (29no) and Rubel Hossain (one not out) ensured the Tigers avoided being bowled out.
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