Unbeaten India trump Bangladesh to close in on semis berth

Unbeaten India trump Bangladesh to close in on semis berth

India inched closer to a semi-final berth in the T20 World Cup following their comprehensive 50-run victory against Bangladesh in a Super Eight Group 1 contest on Saturday.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya smashed a 27-ball fifty as India posted 196-5, their highest score in what has been a low-scoring tournament so far, at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.

Bangladesh were never really in the chase and managed 146-8 in reply, succumbing to their second Group 1 defeat to be on the brink of elimination.

"There was a strong breeze out there so I wanted to make the most of that when I was batting and then not let them use it when I was bowling," player-of-the-match Pandya said afterwards.

"It was about being one step ahead of the batter."

India face Australia in their final Group 1 match on Monday but both would make the last four if Australia can beat Afghanistan later on Saturday.

Electing to field, Bangladesh began with spin from both ends but quickly abandoned the novelty after the first two overs yielded 23 runs and no wicket.

Shakib Al Hasan bore the brunt of the assault but redeemed himself by ending the 39-run opening stand between India skipper Rohit Sharma (23) and stalwart Virat Kohli (37).

Rohit offered a skyer to perish but Kohli smacked three sixes before Tanzim Hasan triggered a mini-collapse in the eventful ninth over.

The pacer splattered Kohli's stumps, had his next ball hit for a six by Suryakumar Yadav, and was celebrating the wicket of India's number three batter in the following delivery.

Rishabh Pant (36) and Shivam Dube (34) overcame sluggish starts before stepping on the gas but it was Pandya, who provided the late flourish with an unbeaten 50 off 27 balls that took India close to the 200-mark.

Pandya then returned to break the opening stand when Bangladesh began their chase.

The seamer had Litton Das caught in the deep before spinner Kuldeep Yadav claimed three quick wickets to effectively derail Bangladesh's chase.

Both Tanzid Hasan (29) and Towhid Hridoy (4) fell lbw to the left-arm wrist spinner, who also removed Shakib and finished with figures of 3-19.

Skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto (40) tried to revive their chase but once Jasprit Bumrah removed him, India, who are unbeaten in the tournament, had the match in the bag.

"As a group, we can definitely still improve," Pandya said.

"We have lost wickets in bunches a few times and that is something that we would like to rectify.

"Otherwise, everyone's looking good and working hard and the mindset is good. We are excited for what is to come." REUTERS

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