Ajinkya Rahane anchored his innings to perfection in the company of comeback man Robin Uthappa and guided India to a comfortable seven-wicket victory in a rain-truncated first ODI against Bangladesh in Mirpur on Sunday.
Chasing a target of 273 in 50 overs, India were cruising along at 100 for one in 16.4 overs when the heavens opened up leading to a nearly two-hour delay. This lead to a revised target of 150 in 26 overs courtesy of D/L method, which India achieved with seven balls to spare.
The foundation was laid by Rahane, who scored 64 off 70 balls and shared a 99-run opening stand with Uthappa, who smashed a quickfire 50 off 44 balls.
The delay affected the momentum and there were umpiring howlers from Bangladesh umpire Enamul Haque Moni. Ambati Rayudu (16) and Suresh Raina (15) were at the crease when the winning run was achieved.
The decision that Uthappa got was a poor one as Shakib's armer hit the bat first before hitting the pad. Nevertheless it was an impressive comeback for Uthappa in India colours after a break of six years. He seemed to carry his IPL form into international cricket, hitting three fours and as many sixes.
The best shot was the one when he reached to the pitch of a flighted delivery from Shakib al Hasan to loft him effortlessly over extra cover. The other two were hit off left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak and medium pacer Ziaur Rahaman. While facing pacers Mashrafe Mortaza and Al-Amin, Uthappa showed full face of the bat.
Rahane was also a delight to watch as he stepped out to lift Mortaza over extra cover and then pulled him towards mid-wicket for a boundary. He also used the sweep shot against Razzak.
Cheteshwar Pujara (0) would consider himself unlucky as he got another howler from Moni, who adjudged him leg before off Shakib with ball hitting him on the thigh pads and clearly going above the stumps.
Rahane finally completed his sixth ODI half centiry off 60 balls while Ambati Rayudu seemingly struggled against the slow bowlers before they reached home.