Minimising the dot balls
Bangladesh finally fell short by 46 runs, but there was one aspect in which they trumped India: they scored 116 runs in fours and sixes - admittedly thanks to Mashrafe Mortaza's blitz at the end - compared to India's 114. That stat also means, though, that they fell behind in something more basic - and less glamorous - than dismissing deliveries over and beyond the ropes.
The stats analysis after the World Cup had revealed that among all the teams that reached the Super Eights, Bangladesh played out the highest percentage of dot balls, and they repeated it today: of the 297 deliveries they faced, 190 produced no runs off the bat; that translates to nearly 32 overs, or 64% of total deliveries faced.
|Team||Dot balls||1s/ 2s/ 3s||4s/ 6s||Dot ball %|
|India||152||110/ 16/ 2||24/ 3||50.84|
|Bangladesh||190||77/ 11/ 2||14/ 10||63.97|
The Indians themselves aren't known to be the best runners between the wickets, but Bangladesh's batsmen could start by taking inspiration from some of them: in the first game, Dinesh Karthik scored a 60-ball 58 with only 16 runs in boundaries, while Mahendra Singh Dhoni's brisk 91 had 28 runs in fours. Today, Rahul Dravid's 42 had just one four, and yet he scored his runs in 47 balls.
In contrast, Bangladesh's batsmen relied almost entirely on the boundaries to score quickly. Aftab Ahmed made 40 off 41, but with 26 runs in boundaries; Habibul Bashar wasn't quite as successful with the big hits - and he admittedly batted after Bangladesh had lost lots of wickets which allowed India to attack more - and he struggled, getting to 43 from 88 deliveries, with 62 dot balls.
Gambhir stands out
For India, the performer of the day was Gautam Gambhir. He has often frittered away starts in the past - in eight out of 21 innings he has fallen between 15 and 40 - but today he didn't make that mistake, getting to his second ODI century. The feature of his innings was the manner in which he paced it - the first 25 runs came off 39 balls, the next 25 took 26, the third 25 came in just 18, while the last 26 took slightly longer - 30 balls - primarily because of the stifling heat. The knock also took his average against Bangladesh beyond 50 - he now averages 51 against them in four innings. The challenge will be to keep up this level consistently, and be among the runs against all kinds of bowling attacks. (Click here for Gambhir's career summary.)
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo