Mirpur: Virender Sehwag hit a career-best 175 and Virat Kohli smashed an unbeaten hundred as India steamrolled Bangladesh, winning the opening game of the 2011 World Cup by 87 runs at the Shere-e-Bangla stadium here on Saturday.
Put into bat, India posted a mammoth 370/4 on a wicket where the dew was expected to play its part and where Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan was of the opinion at the time of the toss that 260 would be a par score. India and specifically Sehwag though had completely different plans.
Already having announced his intentions of exacting revenge for the 2007 World Cup loss to Bangladesh, Sehwag cut loose from the word go and toyed with the insipid bowling. India were coasting at 69/0 in the 11th over when a mix-up between Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar cost the latter his wicket. The master blaster tapped the ball to the onside and called for a quick run, but Sehwag - guilty of ball watching - failed to back up and both the batsmen ended up at the same end.
If Tendulkar was disappointed with the dismissal, anguish was writ large on Sehwag's face. The disappointment of letting down his partner egged him on as he pulverised the Bangladesh attack and silenced the 25,000-strong crowd inside the stadium.
He had a quick 83-run stand with Gautam Gambhir before the mammoth 203-run stand with Kohli that took the game away from the hosts completely.
The duo put up a scintillating show. While Sehwag brought up his 14th ODI hundred, Kohli reached his fifth and his first on World Cup debut off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Sehwag hammered as many as 14 boundaries and five sixes during his 140-ball 175 while Kohli's unbeaten 83-ball 100 contained eight boundaries and two sixes.
Sehwag was hit on the knee and batted in the later stages of his innings with a runner, but the intensity of his shots did not diminish even once.
After Sehwag completed the century, both the batsmen opted for the batting powerplay and virtually plundered runs at will, picking up Shafiul Islam for special treatment by clobbering him for 18 runs in one over.
Abdur Razzak also came in for a battering as Sehwag smashed him for two boundaries and a six in one over to accelerate the pace of scoring.
Sehwag created many batting records during his scintillating knock. It was the highest score by an Indian batsman against Bangladesh, going past Sourav Ganguly's 135 in 2000 and he also surpassed Tendulkar's 141 which till date was the highest individual score in ODIs in Bangladesh.
Sehwag fell at the same score that legendary Kapil Dev had made 28 years ago. Shakib bowled a fullish ball angling into Sehwag who got a bottom edge onto his stumps.
Bangladesh's chase too started on a spirited note but some tight bowling by Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh and Yusuf Pathan made sure they finished their innings at 283/9.
Tamim Iqbal (70) and skipper Shakib Al Hasan (55) were the notable contributors for Bangladesh, while Munaf Patel was the star performer with the ball for India with figures of 4/48 while Zaheer Khan also chipped in with two wickets for 41 runs.
The two Bangladeshi openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes (34) played a few attacking shots, particularly against S Sreesanth who tended to err in line and length in his opening spell.
The opening pair put on a brisk 56 runs in 6.5 overs before paceman Munaf Patel provided the breakthrough by castling Kayes for 34.
Iqbal and Junaid Siddique (37) ensured that there were no immediate jolts for the hosts as they batted cautiously without taking too many risks.
But as a result, the asking rate continued to mount as the two Bangladeshi batsmen found it difficult to hit the Indian spinners.
Though Harbhajan and Pathan found it difficult to grip the ball properly because of the dew, they stuck to a tidy line and length to dry up the runs.
Harbhajan accounted for the dismissal of Siddique as he was beaten by a ball which spun sharply and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni whipped off the bails in a flash.
Bangladesh captain Shakib scored a gutsy 50-ball 55 and together with wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim (25) added 46 for the fourth wicket before departing in search of quick runs.
Shakib was caught by Harbhajan at deep mid-wicket boundary off Yusuf Pathan as he went for a slog sweep.
From there on victory was just a formality for India as the asking rate crept up and in search of runs they lost wickets at regular intervals towards the end.
(With agency inputs)