Saturday 28 June 2008 

Raina Century Leads India To Seven-Wicket Win

Suresh Raina's second century in three Asia Cup innings, along with 90 from Gautam Gambhir, blasted India to a comprehensive seven-wicket win over Bangladesh in their Super Four match in Karachi.

Alok Kapali smashed an 86-ball century to help Bangladesh make a competitive score of 283 for six but India overcame the loss of two wickets early on to reach 284 for three in the 44th over.

Gambhir, who hit eight fours and a six in his authoritative knock, had to watch from the other end as pace bowler Shahadat Hossain removed Robin Uthappa (two) and Rohit Sharma (22) to keep Bangladesh well in the game.

Uthappa was bowled while Sharma was caught by Farhad Reza, but a swift half-century stand between Gambhir and Raina, who has yet to fail to pass fifty in this tournament, put Bangladesh back on the back foot.

Gambhir and Raina added 139 for the third wicket to take the game well and truly away from the gutsy Bangladeshis, Gambhir falling ten short of a century when he was caught by Mashrafe Mortaza at midwicket off of Farhad Reza.

Raina moved to his century from 93 balls and established a half-century stand for the fourth wicket with Yuvraj Singh, who was unbeaten on 36, from 57 deliveries.

Raina was undefeated on 116 from 107 balls and hit 11 fours and three sixes. Shahadat picked up two for 60, unable to follow up his early wickets.

Earlier, Kapali cruised past his previous best ODI score of 89 with a superb innings of 115 from 96 balls in an outstanding display of hitting. He hit five sixes to help rescue Bangladesh from a position of 124 for four at the halfway stage.

Tamim Iqbal, who memorably scored a half-century when Bangladesh beat India in the Caribbean last year, excelled again, taking advantage of an early drop but falling for 55 when he was well caught down the leg side by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off of Ishant Sharma.

The experiment with Nazimuddin at the top of the order failed again when he was first to depart for six, caught by debutant Pragyan Ojha at third man off of RP Singh and Ojha was again in the action when he smartly caught captain Mohammad Ashraful off of Manpreet Gony at mid on for 20.

The other wicket to fall was the in form Raqibul Hasan, who after hitting two fours and one six, was bowled by Ojha, who is so far enjoying a dream debut, for 25, leaving Alok Kapali and the rest with plenty of work to do.

Kapali proved that he was up to the task, adding 49 with Mushfiqur Rahim (22) for the fifth wicket before he dominated a stand of 112 with Mahmudullah, who was unbeaten on 26. Kapali was the last man to fall when he heaved Gony to midwicket and Ojha took another excellent catch in the final over to end one of Bangladesh's greatest ODI innings.

Ojha was the pick of the bowlers with two for 43, while Gony finished with two for 65.

© Cricket World 2008