MELBOURNE,— Bangladesh's fairytale run at the World Cup was ended brutally by reigning champions India on Thursday, but the Tigers' elation at making the knockout rounds for a first time will not be too dimmed by the humbling.
Bangladesh's bowlers tried hard to restrict India and though able to subdue them for a period, were ultimately thwarted by a 122-run partnership between centurion Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina.
With no team having ever chased down more than 300 for victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, few would have dared back Bangladesh to reel in India's 302.
But the batting collapse and 109-run defeat was an unworthy finish to an industrious campaign that offered glimpses of a future where Bangladesh cricket might be taken seriously rather than accused of squatting at cricket's elite table.
In their pool phase thrashing by Sri Lanka at the MCG, Bangladesh put in an abysmal fielding effort that suggested a failure to grasp the dimensions of the sprawling venue on their debut appearance.
Those fielding demons were kept at bay for half of the first innings but came rushing forth as the pressure grew to break Rohit and Raina's partnership.
Fortune played a cruel hand, with Raina surviving an lbw decision when on 10 by the vagaries of ball tracking technology, which showed Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza's delivery pitching a whisker off leg stump.
Rohit was later caught for 90 but was reprieved by umpire Aleem Dar who judged Rubel Hossain's full toss above waste height though replays suggested it was perfectly legal.
"Our plan was pretty good and we were a bit unlucky we couldn't get a wicket at that time," Bangladesh captain Mortaza lamented to reporters.
"We always knew they would come hard after 35 (overs).
"They were brilliant after 35 and took the calculated risks and we couldn't bowl according to our plans ... That was the moment when we lost."
Mashrafe still hailed a "brilliant" tournament for his team, who sent England crashing out of the tournament to secure their place in the last eight.
"Except today, the batters batted really well throughout this tournament ... Hopefully that will continue. The confidence we got hopefully will continue."
"Most of the players in our side ... haven't had any cricket in Australia, so it was a really big class for us but the way the bowlers adapted with the wickets and the conditions, I'm still very proud of this team."
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