ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Bangladesh v India, World Cup 2011, Mirpur

Debutants and sadistic cheers

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the World Cup Group B match between Bangladesh and India in Mirpur

Sidharth Monga at the Shere Bangla Stadium

February 19, 2011

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field in the opening World Cup match, Bangladesh v India, Group B, World Cup 2011, Mirpur, February 19, 2011
Shakib Al Hasan's decision to bowl first to the strong India batting line-up was asking for trouble © Getty Images

The decision
High-pressure game. Batting first and choking the opposition is your strength. It's a flat pitch. You win the toss. And what do you do? Invite the best batting line-up in subcontinent conditions to bat? Not the way to go. Shakib Al Hasan perhaps let the statistics (in the last two years, 14 of the 19 completed ODIs in Mirpur have been won by the team batting second) sway his choice, but there was a more immediate history that he should have paid heed to. Only earlier in the week they failed miserably chasing 286, in a warm-up match against Pakistan.

The start
Travelling teams often say the best way to play in the subcontinent is to first silence their crowds. Virender Sehwag applied the principle to India's neighbours. It had been a long and frenzied build-up to the event, and Bangladesh was a potential banana-peel game for India, especially if the crowds got on top of them. The first ball of the match gave Sehwag the slightest amount of width, and he crashed it past cover for four. World Cups don't get off to more explosive starts.

The cheers
The loudest, sustained cheers from a sell-out crowd were sadistic ones. The first was when Sehwag was hit by a short ball somewhere between his pad and thigh pad; they went mad as he went down. Virat Kohli later misread the bounce of another short one, and inside-edged onto the area between his thigh pad and the box. He bent over in pain, and the roof of the stadium came off again. To rub salt into his wound, the giant screen showed three replays of the hit before the next delivery. Each was greeted by a loud cheer.

Those replays were conspicuous in their absence later in the innings when Mushfiqur Rahim was hit in the face by a ball that bounced in front of him. It was in fact the longest period of silence at the Shere Bangla Stadium, as Mushfiqur received treatment.

World Cup debut
Not long ago, with all the big batting guns expected to be back, it was difficult to see how India would fit Virat Kohli in their first XI for the World Cup. Through sheer weight of runs, though, Kohli forced his way in, denying Suresh Raina a World Cup debut. Not only did Kohli do that, he also made sure it wouldn't be easy to drop him in the near future by scoring a century and adding 203 with Sehwag.

World Cup debut, part II
In the first over of Bangladesh's innings, the UDRS too made its first appearance in a World Cup. It was Sreesanth, another Cup debutant, who necessitated its use with a full outswinger that pitched around middle and leg and came in towards Tamim Iqbal's pads. Kumar Dharmasena, the umpire, ruled it not out, and on first look it seemed that an inside edge may have saved Tamim. After various replays, it was ascertained there was no edge, but Hawk-Eye showed the ball was swinging down the leg side.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 43 
Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 20:11 GMT)

i think it was just one bad day for sree.he will bounce back.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 7:41 GMT)

The first ball of the World Cup was a sign of the upcoming destruction by the Indian Team and especially Viru.Bangldesh got the treatment they deserved and now there are no excuses.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 6:23 GMT)

Three of the six bowlers used did extremely well. and given the conditions the part timers also did well. the only weak link was sreesant and it may be him again if Nehra is fit for the next match. well done india in all departments.

Posted by xylo on (February 20, 2011, 1:36 GMT)

Looking at the way this game went, Bangladesh vs South Africa should be a match to watch out for ... a spin web awaits!

Posted by   on (February 20, 2011, 0:13 GMT)

it was indeed the start ind was looking for. well done viru and compny.but way to go guys,wont b dat easy against teams lik saf,eng and wid, so best of luck india

Posted by shashibhandari on (February 19, 2011, 23:51 GMT)

Sreesant need rest for some time from the ODI's I think he can be better in TESTS but not in ODI's. Let's see if we pickup Chawala and increase the fielding and small batting pressure, since Sreesant is weak in those area also.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2011, 22:49 GMT)

I would consider picking Chawla or Ashwin over Sreesanth. I feel that India should have brought Irfan Pathan with them. That way, if they drop Sreesanth for a spinner, they can drop Y Pathan or Y Singh for Irfan to have a seambowling allrounder.

Right now - 3 seamer (Sreesanth, Khan, Patel) 3 spinner (Y Singh, Y Pathan, Bhajji)

If changed - 3 seamer (I Pathan, Khan, Patel), 3 spinner (Y Singh/Y Pathan, Chawla/Ashwin, Bhajji)

Posted by   on (February 19, 2011, 21:52 GMT)

Given that people are speaking about bowling options, our biggest problem is that we don't have another option. Nehera is totally out of form now a day, and experts (from Sourav Ganguly to Imran Khan to Venketesh Prashad) in different places have backed Sreesanth as a good bowler. It's probably just one bad day for him, and he will play better in the coming days.

We don't have Praveen, and others like RP Singhs are either out of form or not in the 15. We don't really have a choice in our medium pace department. However, Imran has told something in the other website.

That a leg spinner could be very handy for Dhoni in the given condition. Chawla can also make a quick 20 runs and 5 bowlers, Zaheer, Munaf, Sree, Bhajji, Chawla could be a good combination. Against good teams, we are going to suffer if we don't look deep into strengthening our bowling department.

Posted by rahulkmc on (February 19, 2011, 19:54 GMT)

I don't think we can single out Shreesanth as the worst bowler from Indian side today. Agreed he sprayed around a bit but he did bowl some bowls which were unplayable. If that LBW had gone his way, he would have cleaned up BD for sure, he is such a 'confidence' based bowler. Zak (my favourite) , Bhajji and part-time spinners were guilty of only containing runs and not taking wickets. Only Munaf stuck to his basics and stood out today.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2011, 19:33 GMT)

First thing first ... congrats team india , it was expected out this bunch ... secondly ... plz dont try sreesanth against any reputed team , he has the capabilities specifically standalone capabilities to take game away from india ... he's best suited for reality dance shows or some slanging competion ,coz he is good at it ... rest he should be used as waterboy in indian squad

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