Gautam Gambhir helped himself to a 5th One Day hundred in India’s easy 7-wicket win over hosts Bangladesh in the last league game of the Kitply Cup. The hosts had put on their best batting show of the tournament and did bat to their potential to put up 222. That total was surpassed by India in just 35.1 overs with Openers Virender Sehwag (59 from 32 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes) and Gambhir (107* from 101 balls with 13 fours and a six) firing on all cylinders for the second time in this short tournament.
Bangladesh, who had won the toss, decided to bat first and were in trouble against superb swing bowling from Praveen Kumar and RP Singh. India had given rest to Ishant Sharma in this match and that did help the Tigers from finding a reprieve after an initial burst from the new ball. Mohammad Ashraful at no.3 and Raqibul Hasan at no.4 repaired the damages through a steady partnership of 76 before the Bangladeshi Captain became the first international scalp to off spinner Yusuf Pathan. Ashraful failed to kick on after getting to a promising 36 which took him 67 balls. Raqibul on the other hand was in no mood to throw his hard work away and he got closer and closer to a dream hundred. But the youngster in his innings also got struggling with cramps and a tired pull shot off RP Singh in the death overs ended his dream. Raqibul fell making 89 in 117 balls with 5 fours and his knock provided a respectable total of 222 all out for the homeside.
India’s wicket takers were RP Singh with 3 for 46 and Irfan Pathan with 2 for 48, although he wasn’t all that penetrative. Praveen Kumar kept his rhythm and swing going well with tidy figures of 10-1-32-1. Even before Bangladesh could put their bowling strategies in place, India had raced away to 85 in the first 10 overs. Sehwag was in blazing mood while Gambhir was thinking big. India lost the wickets of Sehwag and Rohit Sharma (26 from 43 with 1 four and a six), both getting caught in the deep and Yuvraj (26 from 33 with a four and a six) playing all around a yorker. Gambhir, who stayed right till the end collected the Man of the Match award for his unbeaten century.