Sehwag blasts India to victory
Virender Sehwag’s explosive century helped India thump Bangladesh by 87 runs in the opening World Cup match at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Saturday.
Sehwag was in a destructive mood as he blitzed his way to a superb 175 off just 140 balls as India posted a daunting 370 for four.
In reply, Bangladesh were restricted to 283 for nine with seamer Munaf Patel proving to be the destroyer-in-chief as he finished with four for 48 off 10 overs.
Opening bat Sehwag helped himself to 14 fours and five sixes as he recorded his highest score in one-day internationals (ODIs), eclipsing his previous best of 146.
Sehwag’s knock also overshadowed an equally fine innings of 100 not out off 83 balls from the 22-year-old Virat Kohli.
Kohli and Sehwag shared in a mammoth 203-run third-wicket stand off 24.1 overs as India made Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan rue his decision to ask the opposition to bat first.
The right-handed Sehwag brought up his 14th ODI ton off 94 balls and needed just 46 deliveries to score his next 75 runs.
Sehwag began the game in blistering fashion as he struck the first ball of the innings for four while his final total equalled the third-highest individual score in World Cup cricket.
South Africa’s Gary Kirsten, the current India coach, holds the record of 188 not out scored against the UAE in Rawalpindi in 1996.
Sehwag eventually departed in the 48th over when he dragged a delivery from left-arm spinner Shakib back on to his stumps.
India had made a rollicking start to their innings thanks to an opening stand of 69 between Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar (28) before Tendulkar was run out after a mix-up between the two batsmen found them both stranded at the non-striker’s end.
Gautam Gambhir (39) and Sehwag settled in as they added 83 runs for the second wicket before Gambhir was bowled by off-spinner Mahmudullah.
Kohli and Sehwag then took complete control with Kohli impressing with his measured approach to his innings.
Kohli reached his fifth ODI hundred off the penultimate ball of the innings while his knock included eight fours and two sixes.
The Bangladesh bowlers suffered some terrible punishment with paceman Rubel Hossain the most economical as his 10 overs cost 60 runs.
Shakib, with figures of one for 61 off 10 overs, was the only other bowler to concede less than seven runs to the over while the unfortunate seamer Shafiul Islam was hammered for 69 runs off just seven overs.
Bangladesh made a useful start to their innings as Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes (34) blasted 56 runs off just 6.5 overs before Kayes was bowled by Patel.
Junaid Siddique weighed in with 37 before being stumped off a Harbhajan Singh delivery before Shakib and Tamim provided the home crowd with some hope of an upset victory.
The duo added 59 runs for the third-wicket with both men bringing up half-centuries.
Tamim was relatively subdued as he made his way to 70 off 86 balls while Shakib provided some entertainment with a busy 55 off 50 balls.
But Tamim was caught at midwicket off Patel while Shakib, in trying to up the run-rate holed out to deep midwicket off the part-time off-spin of Yusuf Pathan as Bangladesh’s challenge fell away.
Despite the win, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said there was still work to be done ahead of their next match against England in Bangalore on February 27.
"In the fielding, we need to contribute more and save around 10 runs," said Dhoni, who praised Sehwag and Kohli.
"When you have lost a couple of wickets, you need to stabilise, and it was nice to see Sehwag and Kohli do that."
Shakib admitted that loose bowling early in the India innings had cost his side.
"We bowled too many boundary balls. Sehwag took it away, he played really well. Our fast bowlers were a bit rusty, hopefully they will come back well," he said.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Raqibul Hasan, Naeem Islam, Mahmudullah, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain
India: SR Tendulkar, V Sehwag, G Gambhir, V Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), YK Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Z Khan, S Sreesanth, MM Patel