India bounced back to restore their domination over Bangladesh in T20Is after suffering an unexpected defeat at New Delhi as they registered a comprehensive 8-wicket victory in the 2nd T20I at Rajkot, leveling the 3-match series 1-1.
Both teams continued with the same playing XI from the 1st T20I. On a batting-friendly wicket at Rajkot, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma opted to bowl first after winning the toss, keeping in mind the dew factor. Batting first, Bangladesh could not take advantage of their solid start and ended up with a below-par score of 153-6 in 20 overs which was at least 30 runs short of a competitive score.
In reply, India chased down the target of 154 runs comfortably thanks to a century-stand (118 runs off 65 balls) between their two openers. After Rohit Sharma (85 runs off 43 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan's (31 runs off 27 balls) departure, Shreyas Iyer (24* off 13 balls) and KL Rahul (8* off 11 balls) completed the formalities to take India over the finish line with 4.2 overs to spare.
Several things that happened in the match drew everyone's attention and played crucial roles in changing the direction of the match. Here are 4 such talking points of the match:
#1 Rohit Sharma's blistering knock of 85
A target of 154 runs on a good batting track at Rajkot was never a safe one to defend. With the dew factor coming in, India had the advantage in the second innings and Bangladeshi bowlers needed to do something extraordinary to win the match. However, the explosive innings of Indian opener Rohit Sharma did not allow the opposition bowlers to settle in.
Rohit smashed the ball to all the corners, displaying his elegant batting and making up for his failure in the previous T20I. The highlight of his innings was the 10th over of India's innings when he smashed Hossain with three consecutive sixes, scoring 21 runs off that over.
It took only 23 balls for Rohit Sharma to register his 18th T20I fifty and he looked to be comfortably cruising towards his fifth T20I hundred. However, in the latter half of his innings, he became too ambitious and lost his wicket when he tried to send the ball out of the park off Aminul Islam's bowling, but only found Mohammad Mithun at deep mid-wicket.
Although Rohit could not reach the three-figure mark on his 100th T20I, his heroics with the bat ensured India's comeback in the series with an easy win over Bangladesh.
#2 Rishabh Pant's performance 'in front of the stumps'
Rishabh Pant's glovework has always been under the scanner and the matter became the talk of the town again in the 2nd T20I when he missed an easy chance of stumping off Yuzvendra Chahal's bowling to send Liton Das back to the pavilion.
Bangladesh started with a solid opening partnership of 60 runs (44 balls) and India desperately needed to find the breakthrough to get back into the game. The chance to break the partnership came in the 6th over when Liton Das missed the line completely and came out of the crease while trying to play the shot. However, an over-enthusiastic Pant collected the ball in front of the stumps before dislodging the bails, giving Das a reprieve.
Although Pant affected a run-out chance to dismiss Liton Das later, he nearly repeated the mistake while stumping Soumya Sarkar, but fortunately, he gloved the ball just behind the stumps to send the latter back.
#3 India's sloppy fielding
Often regarded as one of the best fielding sides, India failed to live up to the mark in the 2nd T20I. While Rishabh Pant messed the stumping chance, plenty of overthrows and unnecessary direct hits dented India's reputation. Also, the throws from the outfield were not good enough to get collected cleanly by Pant. Even skipper Rohit Sharma clearly expressed his disappointment over the way of throwing by the fielders.
Moreover, Rohit dropped a skier off Washington Sundar's bowling to get rid of Liton Das in the over. All these combined, it could be concluded that India had an off day in fielding. However, India's batting prowess made up for these and India came out as the better side of the two in the match.
#4 Bangladesh fail to take advantage of a good start
Bangladesh got off to a solid start on a good batting surface at Rajkot, courtesy Liton Das (29 runs off 21 balls) and Mohammad Naim (36 runs off 31 balls). The duo launched an attack right from the first over and scored 54 runs in the powerplay. However, an unexpected run-out resulting from misjudgment of Liton Das added with Rishabh Pant's presence of mind ended the former's stay at the crease.
After that, Bangladesh lost wickets at regular intervals. Mohammad Naim soon followed his partner. Mushfiqur Rahim (4 runs off 6 balls), who stole the show in the 1st T20I, failed to replicate his magic and departed leaving the team in deep trouble. Bangladesh lost 4 wickets for 43 runs in 5.5 overs which pushed them on the back foot.
Losing their key batsmen in the middle overs restricted Bangladesh from scoring quickly in the death overs, eventually falling well short of a competitive score.