BIRMINGHAM: What billions of people and the organizers were hoping has been finalised for Sunday‘s menu, a final between Pakistan and India at The Oval.
That came to reality after tittle holders India thumped Bangladesh in the second semi-final by nine wickets in a cruelly one-sided match at Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground, setting up “mother of all matches” and a re-match with the arch-rivals in the event.
That happened only once in an ICC event when in the World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007 India beat both the group match as well as the final.
Although their 124-run win over Pakistan in the tournament opener will make them favourites but Pakistan has peaked at the right time and will be a totally different side from the one which turned up on June 4.
India proved too good for Bangladesh as they first restricted their opponents to 264-7 in 50 overs after sending them to bat and then overhauled the target for the loss of just one wicket in 40.1 overs with Rohit Sharma hitting a brilliant hundred, his 11th in ODIs.
Rohit and Virat Kohli (96 not out off 78 balls with 12 boundaries) shared an unborken stand for the second wicket yielding 178.
Rohit finished with a masterly 129-ball 123 not out with 12 boundaries, Shikar Dhawan had made 46 in an opening stand of 87.
Once India won the toss they were happy to chase, as Kohli sent his opponents to bat.
Bangladesh were cruising along nicely, even after losing Soumaya Sarkar (nought) and Shabbir Rehman (19) on 31 as Tamim iqbal (82-ball 70 with seven fours and a six) and Mushfiqur Rahim (61 off 85 balls with four boundaries). Both added 123 runs and at 154-2 in the 28th over Bangladesh looked on course for a big total.
But part-timer Kedhar Jadav dismissed Tamim and Rahim in quick succession while Shakib Al Hasan (15) and Mahmudullah (21) — cenurions in the win over New Zealand — also failed to give the much needed impetus.
Instead it was left to Mashrafe Mortaza to hit a 25-ball 30 not out to take Bangladesh total to some respectability.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jsprit Bumrah and Jadhav took two wickets apiece.
India’s long-serving opening pair of Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan — present in the last Champions Trophy in 2013 — kncoked off 87 runs before Shikhar fell to Mortaza for 46.
That brought Kohli to the middle as he and Sharma thrived on some short bowling from Bangladeshi bowlers.