MIRPUR: Former champions India became the first team to qualify for the World Twenty20 semifinals after half-centuries from Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma secured a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over hosts Bangladesh on Friday. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra (3-26) was again among the wickets as India restricted the hosts to a below-par 138 for seven and chased down target with nine balls to spare to secure their third win in three matches in the tournament.
Under tremendous pressure following listless performance this year, Bangladesh were boosted by opener Anamul Haq (44) and Mahmudullah (33) at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan's struggle for fluency continued as the left-hander fell for one but the steady Sharma (56) and in-form Kohli (57 not out) negotiated the modest Bangladesh attack with ease on the way to a century stand.
Sharma got a reprieve on 34 when both Haq and Sohag Gazi went for the skied chance he offered and the fielders were lucky not to collide after wasting the opportunity to dismiss him. Kohli played with the poise that has become his hallmark, shunning extravagance and scoring the occasional boundary to complete an comfortable chase.
Put into bat, Bangladesh lost their top three batsmen cheaply after off-spinner R Ashwin dismissed Tamim Iqbal and Shamsur Rehman with successive deliveries. Haq added 46 runs with skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (24) for the fourth wicket to arrest the slide but Mishra castled him with a googly to deny him his fifty. Mahmudullah added 49 runs with Nasir Hossain for the sixth wicket and Mashrafe Mortaza hit the last ball of the innings for six as Bangladesh made an inadequate total against the 2007 champions.
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