Gambhir fires India into tri-series final
by AFP

Ground:Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
Scorecard:Bangladesh v India
Player:G Gambhir, V Sehwag, RP Singh, Raqibul Hasan
Event:Kitply Cup 2008

DateLine: 12th June 2008


Man of the match Gautam Gambhir hammered a quickfire century to power India into the triangular one-day series final with a crushing seven-wicket win over Bangladesh here on Thursday.


The left-handed opener scored an unbeaten 107 off 101 balls for his fifth hundred as India reached the target of 223 with more than 14 overs to spare in the day-night match for their second successive victory.


India will meet Pakistan in the final on Saturday. Pakistan posted one win in two league matches, while Bangladesh lost both of their games.


"We are doing very well at the moment with both bat and ball. Hopefully, we will be at our best in the final," said India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.


"The start given by Virender Sehwag and Gambhir was really good."


India were off to a blazing start as Sehwag (59) dominated an 85-run stand off 10 overs for the opening wicket with Gambhir, executing delightful strokes during his 32-ball knock containing two sixes and seven fours.


He severely punished seamer Dolar Mahmud, plundering 22 runs off five balls before falling in the same over. He was caught at deep square-leg by Tamim Iqbal while attempting to pull.


But there was no stopping Gambhir, who continued to gather runs comfortably against both pace and spin and added 56 for the second wicket with Rohit Sharma (26) to strengthen his team's position.


Gambhir, who also scored a half-century against Pakistan in the previous match, then put on 75 for the third wicket with Yuvraj Singh (26) to ensure an easy India win. He hit one six and 13 fours.


India earlier put in a disciplined bowling performance to restrict Bangladesh to a modest total despite a fighting 89 from middle-order batsman Raqibul Hasan.


The 20-year-old steadied the innings with a 76-run stand for the third wicket with skipper Mohammad Ashraful (36), but the pair struggled to score freely against the Indian attack.


"The wicket was good for batting, but we did not have enough runs on the board. India played really good cricket," said Ashraful.


India rattled Bangladesh by taking two wickets for 17 runs in the opening six overs after the hosts had elected to bat. Seamers Praveen Kumar and Rudra Pratap Singh were the successful bowlers.


Ashraful and Hasan then kept the Indian attack at bay for nearly 20 overs before off-spinner Yusuf Pathan held a low return catch to account for the Bangladeshi skipper.


Hasan continued to defy the Indian attack, relying on singles and twos to keep the scoreboard moving. He eventually fell in the 44th over, caught by Kumar at mid-on off Rudra Pratap.


He hit just five fours in his 117-ball 89, his best in nine one-day internationals.


Rudra Pratap took three wickets and Irfan Pathan two.

(Article: Copyright © 2008 AFP)