Mirpur (Bangladesh), Feb 24 (IANS) Rohit Sharma’s flamboyant innings of 83 runs not just took India out of trouble, but also helped win the Asia Cup opener against Bangladesh by a comprehensive 45 runs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here on Wednesday.
Put in to bat in the first Twenty20 International match of an Asia Cup, India put up a challenging total of 166/6 with man-of-the-match Rohit notching up a strong 55-ball 83.
He got good support from Yuvraj Singh (15) and later all-rounder Hardik Pandya (31) played a superb cameo. The trio rescued the visiting team from a tottering position of 42/3 in the eighth over.
In reply, the hosts never really took off and kept losing wickets regularly which hindered their chances of winning on home soil to hand the match to India.
On what was a very green top which turned out to be low and slow with the ball not coming on to the bat, the Indian batsmen struggled early on. They misjudged the pace of the wicket and several of them perished due to wayward shots.
First to go was opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan (2), who was bowled by Al-Amin Hossain. Vice-captain Virat Kohli (8) did not get to the pitch of the ball to be caught at mid-off off hosts skipper Mashrafe bin Mortaza.
Left-hander Suresh Raina looked dangerous after hitting two boundaries but he was also bowled for 13.
India were in more than a spot of bother at 42/3 when opening batsman Rohit stuck it out in the middle with Yuvraj to strike a 55-run fourth wicket partnership which consolidated the innings. Rohit was the aggressor of the two, smashing seven boundaries and three sixes.
After Yuvraj departed, Pandya took over and he upped the ante with his 18-ball 31 cameo, which included four boundaries and a huge six over deep mid-wicket.
Eventually, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed a six over deep square leg to take his team to 166/6.
Bangladesh pacer Hossain bowled well to take three wickets.
India pacer Ashish Nehra was on target right from the start of the Bangladeshi innings, taking a credible 3/23 from his four overs.
Bangladesh kept losing wickets at regular intervals and never got any partnership going. Sabbir Rahman was the only one who looked batting with intent in his knock of 44 runs, hitting two boundaries and sixes each.
But once he got out, it was more or less over the hosts as the asking rate kept climbing quite quickly.
Indian bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were quite economical with none of them going for more than 6.5 runs per over.