Pune: India maintained its unbeaten run in the World Cup 2023 by defeating Bangladesh by seven wickets in Pune on Thursday. The star of the match was Virat Kohli, who scored an unbeaten 103 off 104 balls, his 78th ODI century and his 10th in World Cup matches. This was the third time that India won its first four matches in a World Cup edition, having done so previously in 2015 and 2019.
India is now tied with New Zealand at the top of the points table with eight points each but is behind on net run rate. The two teams will face each other in their next match on Sunday, which will be a crucial encounter to decide the top spot in the group. New Zealand has also won all its four matches so far, beating Sri Lanka, West Indies, England, and South Africa.
The match between India and Bangladesh was expected to be a close contest, as both teams had shown good form in the tournament. Bangladesh had beaten South Africa and Sri Lanka and lost narrowly to England in their previous matches. India had beaten Australia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan convincingly, with Rohit Sharma scoring centuries in two of those games.
However, Bangladesh suffered a major blow before the match, as their star all-rounder and captain Shakib Al Hasan was ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Nazmul Hussain Shanto took over the captaincy and opted to bat first after winning the toss. Bangladesh got off to a flying start, as openers Liton Das and Tanjid Hasan added 93 runs in 15 overs. Both batsmen scored half-centuries, with Liton Das making 66 off 71 balls and Tanjid Hasan making 51 off 59 balls.
But India’s spinners turned the tide in their favor, as Kuldeep Yadav broke the opening stand by dismissing Liton Das in the 16th over. After that, Bangladesh lost wickets at regular intervals and could not maintain the momentum. Kuldeep Yadav was the most successful bowler for India, taking three wickets for 45 runs in his 10 overs. He was well supported by Ravindra Jadeja, who took two wickets for 37 runs in his 10 overs. Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah also bowled economically and took one wicket each. Bangladesh could only manage to score 256 for eight in their 50 overs, which seemed below par on a good batting pitch.
India’s chase was led by Virat Kohli, who anchored the innings with his masterful century. He shared a 74-run partnership with Rohit Sharma, who scored a quick-fire 48 off 40 balls before falling to Mustafizur Rahman. Shubman Gill then joined Kohli and played a mature knock of 53 off 62 balls, adding another 97 runs for the second wicket. Kohli reached his hundred in the 38th over with a boundary off Shanto. He remained unbeaten till the end and finished the match with a six off Mehidy Hasan in the 43rd over. India reached the target with seven wickets and 43 balls to spare.
Kohli was adjudged the man of the match for his brilliant innings. He said that he was happy with his form and praised his teammates for their performance. He also said that he was looking forward to the next match against New Zealand, which he called a “big challenge”.
India has now equaled its record of winning seven consecutive matches in a World Cup, which it achieved in 2015. It will aim to break that record and secure the top spot in the group by beating New Zealand on Sunday. Bangladesh will face Sri Lanka on Monday in their last group match, hoping to end their campaign on a high note.