As expected, Team India made numerous changes to their team in the dead rubber against UAE on Thursday at Dhaka. Even so, they were more than good enough to overcome the challenge offered by the United Arab Emirates. UAE won the toss, and chose to bat against an Indian side missing Ashish Nehra, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Still, they managed to restrict UAE to 81. All the Indian bowlers were among the wickets as India’s untested bowlers got good practice. Rohit Sharma then came in and eased his way to 39 from 28 balls as India chased down the target without much trouble.
The game, which saw the teams paying tribute to departed New Zealand legend Martin Crowe, marked the debut of Pawan Negi. The Indians also gave a chance to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harbhajan Singh in the match. All the Indian bowlers impressed, with Kumar standing out with 2 for 8 in his four overs. Harbhajan was equally thrifty, conceding only 11 runs in his four overs. Negi also managed a wicket on debut while Jasprit Bumrah, Yuvraj Singh and Hardik Pandya also helped themselves to a wicket each. The only consolation for UAE was avoiding getting all-out.
Kumar began by dismissing Swapnil Patil caught and bowled off the leading edge for 1. Bumrah joined in the act by sending back Mohammad Shahzad caught in the second slip for a duck. The flow of runs was minimum, and Pandya gave UAE further trouble as he had Rohan Mustafa caught at cover for 11. Negi’s first international wicket came with a tossed up delivery as a wild swing from Muhammad Usman ended in the lap of Harbhajan, coming in from long-off. Negi returned the favour when he caught Amjad Javed (for a first ball duck) at midwicket off the senior off spinner’s bowling.
Muhammad Kaleem was then brilliantly caught by Pandya running in from long on, even as the ball was dipping, to give Yuvraj a wicket. UAE were going nowhere at 62 for 6. It was to only get worse as Fahad Tariq was run out for 3, after being sent back by Shaiman Anwar. Even as wickets kept tumbling from one end, Anwar gave UAE something to cheer about, smashing a Bumrah slower one over his head for six. He was eventually run out for 43 off 48 balls, off the penultimate ball of the innings, looking for additional runs.
India’s response was rapid. Rohit raced to 39 from 27 balls, smashing seven fours and six before falling to Qadeer Ahmed. Rohit was the dominant partner in the opening partnership of 43 with Shikhar Dhawan, which lasted 5.5 overs. MS Dhoni took the opportunity to promote Yuvraj up to number three, and he utilised the same to finish with an unbeaten 25 from 14, smashing four fours and a six. India won by 9 wickets with 59 balls to spare, a clear indication of the gulf between the teams.
--By A Cricket Correspondent