High-pressure game. Batting first and choking the opposition is your strength. It's a flat pitch. You win the toss. And what do you do? Invite the best batting line-up in subcontinent conditions to bat? Not the way to go. Shakib Al Hasan perhaps let the statistics (in the last two years, 14 of the 19 completed ODIs in Mirpur have been won by the team batting second) sway his choice, but there was a more immediate history that he should have paid heed to. Only earlier in the week they failed miserably chasing 286, in a warm-up match against Pakistan.
Travelling teams often say the best way to play in the subcontinent is to first silence their crowds. Virender Sehwag applied the principle to India's neighbours. It had been a long and frenzied build-up to the event, and Bangladesh was a potential banana-peel game for India, especially if the crowds got on top of them. The first ball of the match gave Sehwag the slightest amount of width, and he crashed it past cover for four. World Cups don't get off to more explosive starts.
The loudest, sustained cheers from a sell-out crowd were sadistic ones. The first was when Sehwag was hit by a short ball somewhere between his pad and thigh pad; they went mad as he went down. Virat Kohli later misread the bounce of another short one, and inside-edged onto the area between his thigh pad and the box. He bent over in pain, and the roof of the stadium came off again. To rub salt into his wound, the giant screen showed three replays of the hit before the next delivery. Each was greeted by a loud cheer.
Those replays were conspicuous in their absence later in the innings when Mushfiqur Rahim was hit in the face by a ball that bounced in front of him. It was in fact the longest period of silence at the Shere Bangla Stadium, as Mushfiqur received treatment.
World Cup debut
Not long ago, with all the big batting guns expected to be back, it was difficult to see how India would fit Virat Kohli in their first XI for the World Cup. Through sheer weight of runs, though, Kohli forced his way in, denying Suresh Raina a World Cup debut. Not only did Kohli do that, he also made sure it wouldn't be easy to drop him in the near future by scoring a century and adding 203 with Sehwag.
World Cup debut, part II
In the first over of Bangladesh's innings, the UDRS too made its first appearance in a World Cup. It was Sreesanth, another Cup debutant, who necessitated its use with a full outswinger that pitched around middle and leg and came in towards Tamim Iqbal's pads. Kumar Dharmasena, the umpire, ruled it not out, and on first look it seemed that an inside edge may have saved Tamim. After various replays, it was ascertained there was no edge, but Hawk-Eye showed the ball was swinging down the leg side.