India into Semis with Win over Australia

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Australia now have their semifinal fate out of their own hands and if Afghanistan beat Bangladesh at St Vincent, they will be knocked out of the competition…reports Asian Lite News

Under sunny skies at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, captain Rohit Sharma unleashed carnage on Australia’s bowlers by smacking a stupendous 92 off 41 balls, which set the base for India’s 24-run win to enter the semifinals of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.

After Rohit’s fabulous efforts, where his fifty came in just 19 balls, helped India post a mammoth 205/5 in the Super Eight stage clash, a win seemed to be in danger as opener Travis Head cleared his front leg and smacked his shots all over the park in a valiant 43-ball 76, even as he found little support from other batters.

But with Kuldeep Yadav taking 2-24, including dismissing Glenn Maxwell, followed by Arshdeep Singh picking 3-37, Australia were restricted to 181/7 in the 20 overs. The result means India signs off from the Super Eight stage by maintaining their unbeaten record and will face defending champions England in their semifinal clash in Guyana on Thursday.

Australia now have their semifinal fate out of their own hands and if Afghanistan beat Bangladesh at St Vincent, they will be knocked out of the competition. Rohit was in the mood to go all out from the word go, standing head and shoulders above everyone to pulverize Australia by hitting seven fours and eight sixes at a strike rate of 224.39, leaving the fans breathless.

Suryakumar Yadav, Shivam Dube, and Hardik Pandya chipped in with 31, 28, and 27 not out respectively in a fabulous innings for India, where 15 sixes were hit –- the most maximums hit by them in a T20 World Cup game. Pushed into batting first, India suffered a body blow in the second over when Virat Kohli fell for a five-ball duck after his attempt to pull Hazlewood resulted in the top edge being caught by Tim David running 26m from his right at mid-on.

Starc tried to swing the ball into Rohit but bowled full and wide balls, which the India skipper lofted twice over cover for consecutive sixes. It was followed by Rohit hammering Starc over mid-on for four and slog-sweeping plus top-edging him (on a full toss) for two more sixes to take 29 runs off the third over.

Rohit welcomed Pat Cummins with an almighty slog-sweep going over the stadium roof at 100m before rain intervened. After a ten-minute rain interruption, Rohit continued to go berserk with a slice and top-edge getting him two more fours, before bringing up his fifty in just 19 balls.

Rishabh Pant joined the boundary-hitting party with a pulled four off Hazlewood and welcomed Adam Zampa with a dancing-down-the-pitch-loft over long-on for six. Rohit swiped Zampa for a huge six, followed by heaving Marcus Stoinis for a four and two sixes -– with the standout being his dancing down the pitch and lofting inside-out going over the extra-cover fence.

Though Stoinis had Pant holing out to long-off, Rohit carried on by pulling Stoinis for two fours, followed by Suryakumar square driving, swiping through the long leg, and lofting over extra-cover to take three quick boundaries. Starc finally had the last word when his slower yorker, coming from round the wicket, castled Rohit for 92 off 41 balls.

Dube got going with an upper-cut off Starc going for four, followed by smacking Zampa for a big six over deep mid-wicket and driving Stoinis through mid-off for four more. Suryakumar heaved Stoinis for six and cut Starc in the gap between backward-point and short third-man for four more.

But Starc had the last laugh by getting Suryakumar Yadav to cut a wide off-cutter behind to the ‘keeper in his final over. Pandya broke the brief lean period by slapping Cummins for four and using his bottom hand to hit sixes over extra-cover and long-off. Despite Dube holing out to deep-cover off Stoinis, Ravindra Jadeja’s flicked six off Cummins in the final over took India past 200.

In the chase, David Warner fell for six after nicking to diving first-slip off Arshdeep. Mitchell Marsh survived on zero when Pant tripped over while chasing a catch off the pull and was later dropped on five when Arshdeep couldn’t take a catch on his follow-through. From there, Marsh began to deal in boundaries, smacking Arshdeep for two fours, before ending third over with a huge pulled six.

Head joined the boundary-hitting spree by slashing and pulling Jasprit Bumrah for two fours, followed by smashing a full toss for four through point. Marsh feasted on Axar Patel’s poor balls by walloping him for four and six respectively, followed by Head lofting and heaving Pandya for two sixes. Head carried on to deal in boundaries – hitting a four over Hardik’s head and pulling with ease for six.

But under considerable pressure, Kuldeep broke the 81-run partnership for the second wicket when Marsh got down to sweep, but Axar timed his jump to perfection at deep square leg, and stretched his right hand up to pluck the ball out of thin air. Head slashed, whipped, and sliced Pandya for three boundaries in the 10th over -– the second of which got him his fifty in 24 balls.

Maxwell brought out some fireworks by taking four from Ravindra Jadeja’s first ball with a deft touch between short third-man and point. He then followed it with two audacious reverse sweeps going for four and six respectively. After that, India bounced back in stunning fashion.

In a bid to take on Kuldeep, Maxwell went down the pitch to hack across the line but was left to see his stumps in a mess by the googly. In the next over, Stoinis went for a reverse-sweep off Axar but was caught by backward-point on the rebound.

Bumrah returned to deceive Head with a slower ball, and he heaved to cover, falling for 76. Arshdeep came back to have Matthew Wade and Tim David caught by short third-man in quick succession to effectively seal the game in India’s favour.

Brief scores:

India 205/5 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 92, Suryakumar Yadav 31; Mitchell Starc 2-45, Marcus Stoinis 2-56) beat Australia 181/7 in 20 overs (Travis Head 76, Mitchell Marsh 37; Arshdeep Singh 3-37, Kuldeep Yadav 2-24) by 24 runs

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