175 from Virender Sehwag and 100 not out from Virat Kohli set India on their way to an 87 run victory over fellow co-hosts Bangladesh in Mirpur as the 2011 World Cup is now underway.
India were making swift progress when Sachin Tendulkar was run out on 28 from just 29 balls, leaving India at 69-1. Tendulkar’s replacement, Gautam Gambhir, made a similar impact before he was clean bowled for 39 from 39 balls by Mohammad Mahmudullah. That left India at 152-2 as Kohli joined Sehwag, who had opened the batting with Tendulkar, at the crease.
The next time that Bangladesh would be celebrating the score would be 355-3 following their captain, Shakib Al Hasan, clean bowling Sehwag. By that time Sehwag had made his way to 175 and his partner in crime, Kohli, was well on his way to his century.
Yusuf Pathan came in for the final moments of the openings innings of this year’s World Cup and scored eight from ten balls to back up Kohli as India, in their light blue ODI shirts, closed on 370-4 from their 50 overs.
Shakid shuffled his bowlers and used six different personnel, the best figures coming from Mahmudullah who took his one wicket for 49 runs from seven overs.
Facing a mountain of a target of 371 to win, with an average of 7.42 runs per over, it was always going to be tough for Bangladesh against one of the best sides in world cricket, however they started brightly, racing to 56 before the first wicket fell, Imrul Kayes going for 34 from 29 deliveries as he was clean bowled by Munaf Patel.
Although they continued to score at a decent rate, the pressure was always on the side playing on their own turf, and that pressure was being exposed at intervals throughout their innings. Junaid Siddique, Shakib, and Mushfiqur Rahim all went, and although Tamim Iqbal managed 70 from 86 balls, it was not enough.
India looked to be carving through the tale-order, however they could not find the final wicket that was required to bowl the Bangladeshis out as Raqibul Hasan and Rubel Hossain hung on to close on 283-9.
Although bigger tests will surely come for India they will not be pleased that they could not bowl Bangladesh out. This could well end up being an often seen sight throughout this World Cup on the slow flat pitches of the sub-continent.
Two further matches take place tomorrow as Kenya take on New Zealand in Chennai, and Sri Lanka face Canada in Hambantota.
England’s first match of the tournament sees them play the Netherlands in Nagpur on Tuesday 22 February.