India's plan to experiment with new players and fresh combinations seem to have struck the right chord after Robin Uthappa and Ajinkya Rahane played useful knocks in India's seven-wicket win in a rain-hit match against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Sunday evening. Both Uthappa and Rahane slammed fifties as India broke little sweat to take a 1-0 lead in the three ODI series. (Scorecard | Highlights)
Rahane and Uthappa were involved in a stand of 99 -- India's highest opening partnership versus Bangladesh in Dhaka, outstripping the 85 between Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag on June 12, 2008. For the second time, both openers recorded fifties in the same innings versus Bangladesh in an ODI. Gambhir (107) and Sehwag (59) had scored 50-plus at Dhaka on June 12, 2008.
The Uthappa-Rahane partnership was the third highest opening stand for India against Bangladesh in ODIs -- the top two being 121 between Woorkeri Raman and Navjot Singh Sidhu at Chandigarh on December 25,1990 and 106 between Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka on December 27, 2004.
Rahane was India's top scorer with a 70-ball 64. It was an innings that not only gave the innings momentum but the confidence to chance Bangladesh's impressive 272 for nine. Rahane scored his sixth fifty in ODIs -- his third in five innings.
For the first time, Rahane has recorded successive fifties in ODIs -- 56 versus Afghanistan at Dhaka on March 5 and 64 vs Bangladesh at Dhaka on June 15. Rahane has registered successive fifties versus Bangladesh in ODIs. He had posted 73 at Fatullah on February 26, 2014.
Rahane deservedly won the Man of the Match award. Sunday's effort won him his second Man of the Match award in ODIs -- the first was against England for scoring 91 at Mohali on October 20, 2011.
Interestingly, one of India's most dependable batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara failed to score again. Pujara recorded his second successive duck in ODIs. He didn't score against Zimbabwe in his previous innings at Bulawayo on August 3, 2013.