India close in on semifinals after nervy win over Bangladesh

Defending champions India have one foot into the T20 World Cup semifinals after a nail-biting five-run win over Bangladesh in a rainy Group 2 match in Adelaide on Wednesday.

Virat Kohli remained unbeaten on 64 runs to end his drought. KL Rahul (50) took India to a commanding 184-6 win at the Adelaide Oval.

Bangladesh, aiming for a new target of 151 in 16 overs after a rain interruption, looked to be on a good track with Litton Das (60), but his dismissal rattled his side, who eventually reached 145-6.

India are now top of Group 2 with six points, one ahead of South Africa, who have played one match less.

“Shortened matches can go either way… but we held our nerve well when the match started after the break,” said India captain Rohit Sharma.

“Some of the catches we made under pressure today were great to watch.”

India did not get off to the best start in the match as Taskin Ahmed proved to be a tough act to follow, even though he did not score a single wicket.

Hasan Mahmud (3-47) dropped Rohit in the deep but made amends almost immediately by dismissing the batsman for two.

Kohli, who was voted player of the match, looked unconvincing at the start but was soon in his element while Rahul, on the other hand, also seemed to be in good form.

With scores of 4, 9and 9 in the previous three matches, Rahul was under pressure to justify his selection and the opener responded with four sixes en route to a 50 off 31 balls as India led 86-2 at the halfway stage.

Suryakumar Yadav played a typically breezy 30 off 16 balls on a day when he replaced Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan as the top-ranked T20 batsman.

Kohli went one better in the penultimate over, scoring his third 50 in four innings to overtake Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene as the leading run-scorer in the tournament’s history.

Litton gave Bangladesh a furious start, scoring 56 of the 60 runs in the first six powerplay overs.

He scored fifty runs off 21 balls before rain interrupted play and Bangladesh were left with 66 runs for no loss after seven overs.

When play resumed with a new target, Das was beaten by Rahul’s direct throw from deep midwicket, triggering a batting collapse.

Bangladesh needed 20 points from Arshdeep Singh’s last over, and Nurul Hasan hit a six and a four, but it was not enough in the end.

“It has always been like this when we play India. We are almost there but we never get over the finishing line,” regretted Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan.

“It was a great game, the spectators had fun, and both teams had fun.

“In the end, one has to win and one has to lose.”

Earlier, Zimbabwe’s hopes of advancing to the semifinals were all but extinguished after a five-point loss to the Netherlands.

Zimbabwe lost by 117 points in 19.2 minutes, with only Sikander Raza (40) and Sean Williams (28) scoring in double figures.

Max O’Dowd led the Dutch reply with 52 points and Tom Cooper scored 32 to give the Dutch, already eliminated, their first Super 12 win with two match days to go.