Rohit Sharma scored his maiden ICC Cricket World Cup century to help India advance into the semi-finals of the 2015 edition with a 109-run victory over Bangladesh at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday. Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat. His openers managed to put on an opening stand of 75 runs before Shikhar Dhawan (30) was stumped by Mushfiqur Rahim off the bowling of Shakib Al Hasan (1/58).
The wicket of Virat Kohli followed in the next over as he was dismissed for just six runs. On the positive side Rohit Sharma was a man on a mission bringing up a half century off 70 balls scoring four fours and one six. However the positives were once again outweighed when the Indians found themselves in a spot of bother when Ajinkya Rahane failed to get a decent partnership going with Sharma.
Help did arrive in the form of Suresh Raina who marched out to the middle and put on a brilliant partnership of 122 runs and brought up a half century of his own with the established opener taking the score to 217/3. Sharma rounded off a workman like innings converting his half century to bring up his maiden World Cup century off 108 balls scoring ten fours and one six. With the innings drawing to a close the brilliant partnership between Raina (65) and Sharma (137) was broken by the Bangladeshi skipper Mashrafe Mortaza (1/68).
This brought the Indian skipper to the crease but he was unable to add much to the score as he followed the wicket of the centurion for just six runs. Duncan Fletcher’s men finished their allotted 50 overs scoring 302/6. In reply the Bangladeshis got off to a really slow start as they lost the two early wickets of their openers Tamim Iqbal (25) and Imrul Kayes (5) in succession to leave them on 33/2.
The two new batsmen were Mohammad Mahmuddulah and Sounya Sarkar who put on a partnership of 40 runs before Mahmudullah was caught by Dhawan on the boundary off a Mohammad Shami over. Sarkar departed in the 21st over also off a Shami (2/37) over to leave them on 86/3. Al Hasan was joined by Mushfiqur Rahim and together they got their side to 100/4 but only managed to add a further four runs before Al Hasan was dismissed for ten with a further 199 required off 132 balls.
Rahim (27) and Sabbir Rahman managed to see their side to 139/5 but the sixth wicket of the wicketkeeper fell off the first ball of the first over of the powerplay with Bangladesh on 139/6 requiring a further 164 runs off 89 balls with four wickets in hand. Nasir Hossain was the new batsmen in and he smacked a four off the second ball he faced followed by another from his partner at the other end to release some pressure after the wicket. Hossain and Rahman put on a useful 50 partnership to help their side to 179/6 before they had a mini batting collapse losing Hossain (35), their skipper for 1, Rubel Hossain for a duck and the final wicket to fall was Rahman for 30 as the Tigers were all out for 193 and eliminated from the World Cup.
The man of the match was Rohit Sharma for his performance with the bat scoring 137 in a winning cause for the Indians as they ran out winner by 109 runs. The defending champions will face either Australia or Pakistan in the second semi-final on Thursday 26 March at the Sydney Cricket Ground.