India edged closer to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup following a nervy five-run victory against Bangladesh in a rain-hit Group 2 humdinger at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.
Virat Kohli made an unbeaten 64 to maintain his stellar form and KL Rahul (50) ended his run drought as they fired India to a commanding 184 for 6. Chasing a revised target of 151 in 16 overs after a rain interruption, Bangladesh looked on course with Litton Das, who made 60, going on the attack but his exit derailed his side who eventually finished on 145 for 6.
India moved to top of Group 2 with six points, one ahead of South Africa who have played one game fewer.
Put into bat, India did not have the best of starts with Taskin Ahmed proving quite a handful even though the seamer went wicketless. Hasan Mahmud (3 for 47) dropped Rohit Sharma in the deep but almost immediately made amends dismissing the India captain for two with his second delivery.
Kohli did not look convincing initially but was soon in his element, while Rahul also looked in great touch at the other end. With scores of four, nine and nine in his previous three matches, Rahul was under pressure to justify his selection and the opener responded by clubbing four sixes en route to a 31-ball fifty as India reached 86 for 2 at the halfway stage.
Suryakumar Yadav made a typically breezy 30 off 16 balls on a day he replaced Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan as the top-ranked T20 batter. Kohli accelerated in the penultimate over, registering his third fifty in four innings and also overtook Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene as the leading run-scorer in the history of the tournament.
Litton gave Bangladesh a rollicking start, scoring 56 of Bangladesh’s 60 runs in the first six powerplay overs. He raced to a 21-ball fifty before rain halted play with Bangladesh on 66 for no loss after seven overs.
When play resumed with a revised target, Das was beaten by Rahul’s direct throw from deep midwicket and it triggered a batting collapse. Bangladesh needed 20 from the last over from Arshdeep Singh and though Nurul Hasan hit a six and a four it was not enough.
Earlier, Zimbabwe’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup effectively evaporated following their five-wicket defeat by the Netherlands.
Zimbabwe were all out for 117 in 19.2 with only Sikander Raza (40) and Sean Williams (28) reaching double figures.
Max O’Dowd led the Netherlands’ reply with 52 and Tom Cooper made 32 as the Dutch side, who have already been knocked out, registered their first Super 12 win with two overs to spare.