Bangladesh handed a harsh reminder of journey still to travel


Bangladesh's voyage into unchartered territory ended in chastening defeat on Thursday as India handed down a clinic in managing the big occasion.

The Tigers entered a semi-final of a global ICC event for the first time in their history at Edgbaston and were high on confidence and optimism in equal measure ahead of the meeting with the Champions Trophy holders.

However, their positivity was punctured under sunny Birmingham skies as Virat Kohli's side ruthlessly dismantled their neighbours in a disappointingly one-sided affair.

After being put into bat as the day began gloomily, Bangladesh looked on course for a score in excess of 300 with Tamim Iqbal (70) and Mushfiqur Rahim (61) going well for the third wicket.

But both fell to the part-time spin of Kedar Jadhav - more on him later - and the innings unravelled, a few defiant swipes from captain Mashrafe Mortaza eventually guiding them to 264-7.

That total looked a long way short and so it proved as Rohit Sharma's sparkling unbeaten 123, alongside Kohli's typically fluent 96*, helped India cruise to a nine-wicket win and a second successive final, this time against fierce rivals Pakistan, whom they have already resoundingly thumped at this tournament.

Bangladesh's recent progress, in white-ball cricket especially, has been impressive but this was a major reality check.

The group-stage win over New Zealand - where Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah both made centuries to recover a position that was seemingly lost - was further evidence of Bangladesh's development on the big stage.

But this was a grander setting still, against a more formidable opponent.

Mashrafe spoke bullishly in his pre-match media conference and suggested that the extra pressure was on favourites India, stating: "I know that on our day we can do anything."

Well, this was not their day.

This tournament has been one of surprises - Pakistan's hammering of strong favourites England in Wednesday's first semi the primary example - but this encounter falls at the very opposite end of the spectrum.

Kohli was typically professional ahead of the game, refusing to take anything for granted and emphasising the undoubted qualities of this Bangladesh outfit.

But the India captain also pointed to his side's wealth of big-game experience, which came to the fore to devastating effect.

Bangladesh were going nicely at 154-2 in the 28th over when Tamim missed a sweep off Kedar and was bowled. Soon afterwards, Mushfiqur slapped a full toss from the same bowler to Kohli at midwicket and suddenly Bangladesh were in a hole, holding too short a rope.

Those dismissals came during a stage of the game that was excellently managed by Kohli and co. Between them, spinners Kedar, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja returned 3-124 from 26 middle overs, bowled at a rapid rate as India completed their allocation in just over three hours.

From an initially troublesome position, India used all their know-how to engineer the situation in their favour and take the game away from their opponents.

As a result, Bangladesh were left floundering and unable to turn the tables as India's blue tide proved irresistible.

It was a harsh lesson, and one the Tigers must heed if they are to continue their upward trajectory and match their conquerors as regular contenders on the global stage.