IANS

Top-ranked batter Suryakumar Yadav made an impressive 53 off 28 balls, while in-form Jasprit Bumrah led a relentless bowling show through a stunning haul of 3-7 as India maintained their unbeaten run in the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup with a clinical 47-run win over Afghanistan in their first Super Eight match at the Kensington Oval on Thursday. 

With the pitch being damp and slow, Suryakumar proved to be the difference by combining attacking shots with immaculate timing to hit five fours and three sixes at a strike rate of 189. He was also mighty effective with his sweep shots as his 19th T20I fifty put pressure on Afghanistan bowlers and take India to a strong 181/8. 

His 60-run stand with Hardik Pandya (32) and a late cameo of 12 from Axar Patel helped India raise the tempo as 56 runs came in the last five overs, despite captain Rashid Khan and left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi taking three wickets each.

In reply, Bumrah bowled 20 dot balls in his searing spell, while Arshdeep Singh, despite being occasionally wayward, took 3-36 as India bowled out Afghanistan for 134.

With the ball holding on to the pitch, Rohit Sharma was kept quiet by Farooqi despite getting a streaky four. He also survived an LBW appeal off him on review, as replays showed ball pitching outside leg-stump. Farooqi struck in the third over when Rohit tried to take on his off-cutter, but miscued off the toe-end to mid-on.

Rishabh Pant began attacking from the word go by stylishly flicking Farooqi for four, followed by reverse-sweeping, slog-sweeping (dropped by Naveen-ul-Haq on 11) and driving through cover to take three fours off Mohammad Nabi as the final over of Power-play yielded 13 runs.

But Pant was beaten while trying to reverse-sweep a leg-break delivery off Rashid and was trapped plumb lbw for 12-ball 20, with the review showing it would have hit the stumps. Rashid struck again in his next over by having Virat Kohli loft straight to long-off.

Suryakumar kept India going with his variety of sweeps fetching him three boundaries, even as Rashid trapped Shivam Dube lbw with a quicker leg-break which went past his attempted jab, with the review showing it hit flap of pad first in front of off-stump.

Suryakumar left everyone in awe by moving across and whipping a low full toss from Azmatullah Omarzai for four, followed by driving him through mid-off for another boundary. With Pandya timing his drives for boundaries, Suryakumar proceeded to smack a drive from Omarzai down the ground for six.

Pandya tore into Noor Ahmad by going inside-out beautifully over extra cover for four, followed by smashing a six straight down the ground. Suryakumar smacked Farooqi high over long-on for six and flicked a four through mid-wicket to get his fifty in 27 balls before the batter holed out to long-off in the 17th over.

Pandya smacked Naveen for a 98-metre six clubbed over the terrace of the stadium, before holing out to deep point off the pacer in the 18th over. India’s plans for a big finish were given another big dent when Ravindra Jadeja uppercut to short third man and become Farooqi’s third scalp. Axar picked his gaps well to take two boundaries off Naveen and take India past 180 in the final over.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz got Afghanistan’s chase off to a flying start by carting Arshdeep for four and six in the opening over. But the big-hitter was foxed by a cutter from Bumrah in trying to hit over cover and gave an outside edge behind to keeper.

Ibrahim Zadran slashed to Kohli at point, but he dropped a simple catch off Arshdeep’s bowling. But Axar struck as Zadran didn’t get any elevation and hit straight to extra cover. Bumrah came back with an off-cutter which gripped off the pitch and took a leading edge off Hazratullah Zazai’s bat to backward point.

The triple strikes from India meant Afghanistan’s required run rate ballooned, despite Azmatullah Omarzai and Gulbadin Naib hitting five boundaries between themselves till the halfway mark.

But after a drinks break, Kuldeep broke the 44-run stand by having Naib miscue high in the air to the keeper and was followed by Ravindra Jadeja having Omarzai holing out to long-on. From there, the result was a foregone conclusion as Bumrah and Arshdeep ended up with three-fers, while Kuldeep had a two-wicket haul on his T20 World Cup debut in a comfortable win for India.

Brief scores: 

India 181/8 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 53, Hardik Pandya 32; Rashid Khan 3-26, Fazalhaq Farooqi 3-33) beat Afghanistan 134 all out in 20 overs (Azmatullah Omarzai 26; Jasprit Bumrah 3-7, Arshdeep Singh 3-36) by 47 runs

(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by Odishatv.in staff)

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