Bangladesh beat India by one wicket in their first ODI in Mirpur. In what was a low scoring match, India seemed on the brink of victory, when the last Bangladesh pair of Mehedi Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman came together and with still 51 runs needed.
But the duo kept their nerve, and steered their side to victory with four overs still to be bowled.
Yet again, India’s inability to take ten wickets in an innings came back to haunt them.
India began the clear favourites, having won 30 of the previous 26 ODIs against their opponents (another one of the others ended in a no result) and having welcomed back a number of the big names who had missed the recent tour of New Zealand. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul were all named in the starting line-up (although there was no place for an out of form Rishabh Pant).
Right arm seamer, Kuldeep Sen, was handed his maiden ODI call-up, becoming the 250th player to play for India in ODIs.
With regular captain Tamim Iqbal out with a groin injury, Liton Das led the Bangladesh team.
And it was Das who won the toss and invited India to bat first on a slow pitch.
India again made a conservative start, and there scoring rate was not helped by the loss of regular wickets, and with left arm orthodox spinner Shakib Al-Hasan enjoying particular success, with his victims including Rohit and Kohli.
At 92/4 India were struggling,, but Rahul, batting at number five, injected some momentum into the innings, making 73 off 70 balls, including 4 sixes, before he became one of the four victims of Ebadot Hossain.
However, with the last six wickets falling for the addition of just 34 runs, a final Indian total of 186 all out was sub-par.
Shakib was the most successful of the Bangladesh bowlers, taking 5 – 36.
However, he had less joy when opening the batting for his side, out first ball to Deepak Chahar.
The Bangladesh reply was painstaking rather than spectacular, and India took regular wickets to keep them in check.
When India took five wickets in the space of five overs for the addition of just 8 runs, it looked like their greater experience would tell. But that was reckoning without the character that the last pair showed, not only keeping out the India bowlers, but having the ability to find the gaps in the field to score the runs they needed.
In the end Hasan finished on 38 not out, scored off 39 balls, including 2 sixes and 4 fours. His partner, meanwhile, was unbeaten on 10 valuable runs.
Mohammed Siraj was the best of the Indian bowlers with 3 -32, whilst there were two wickets apiece for Kuldeep Sen and Washington Sundar. In the end it was not enough.
Main talking points
Sharma sets milestone
Rohit Sharma, back as captain, made 27 off 31 balls and in the process, became the sixth highest scorer for India in ODIs, surpassing another Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin.
However, both his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli missed out on this occasion.
Dhawan’s recent form is becoming a concern. Already there are question marks about his age – he turns 37 on Monday – but if he continues to score at a slow pace, then there must be question marks about his continuance in the side. He has been a fine servant for India, but, in a World Cup year, they cannot afford to carry passengers.
Lack of credible spin options?
India chose to play Shahbaz Ahmed, who was playing in just his third ODI for India, but it was not a great day for the all-rounder. He was out for a four ball duck, and then his ten overs went wicketless, and he conceded at almost five over. The contrast on the day with the success that Shakib enjoyed for his side was stark. India needs to discover a reliable spinner who can both take wickets, and apply the brakes, when needed, on the scoring rate.
What happens next?
The two teams will return to the same ground on Wednesday, December 7th, for the second match in the three match series. Whilst India will not be panicking after this defeat, they will be keen to avoid another one.
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