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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 July 2024

T20 World CUp 2024: Bowlers secure safe start after Suryakumar Yadav pilots shaky ship

Team India didn’t have to break much sweat in getting off to a winning start in the Super Eight phase of the ongoing T20 World Cup, beating Afghanistan comfortably by 47 runs

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 21.06.24, 10:15 AM
Man of the Match Suryakumar Yadav during his 28-ball 53 against Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup Super 8 game at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown on Thursday

Man of the Match Suryakumar Yadav during his 28-ball 53 against Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup Super 8 game at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown on Thursday AP/PTI

Crisis man Suryakumar Yadav (53 off 28 balls) stepped up once again while the bowling attack continued with its tidy show on a slow, sluggish Kensington Oval pitch in Bridgetown on Thursday.

Team India, thus, didn’t have to break much sweat in getting off to a winning start in the Super Eight phase of the ongoing T20 World Cup, beating Afghanistan comfortably by 47 runs.

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Losing captain Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli for only 62 on the board in the ninth over, India — going in with left-arm wrist spinner bowler Kuldeep Yadav instead of pacer Mohammed Siraj — risked their innings falling off track. But Surya, trusting his abilities, braved the conditions and executed his strokes brilliantly before Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel (12 not out off 6 balls) and Afghanistan’s indiscipline in the slog overs took India to 181/8. A total they would certainly take after winning the toss and opting to bat first.

For the Afghans to put India under pressure, they needed keeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz, their best batsman, to fire.

Gurbaz began well too, smashing Arshdeep Singh for a four and a six in the opening over of the run chase. But in the very next over, a poor stroke off Jasprit Bumrah’s slower delivery cost him his wicket.

Afghanistan, not good chasers either, just couldn’t recover thereafter.

Batting became tougher as the wicket slowed down further. And while the opposition batters looked completely at sea before Bumrah (3/7), the likes of Axar, Kuldeep, Jadeja and Arshdeep Singh also struck in regular intervals to bowl Afghanistan out for 134.

Earlier, the crucial 60-run stand between Surya and Pandya (32 off 24 balls), off 6.1 overs came at a critical phase of the game.

The Afghans were on top when their captain Rashid Khan (3/26), after accounting for Pant and Kohli earlier, trapped a clueless Shivam Dube for his third wicket that left India wobbling at 90/4 in 11 overs.

But, just as he had done often earlier, Surya, or just ‘SKY’, grabbed the bull by the horns and unleashed his strokes to perfection to regain India the momentum. Leg-spinner Rashid bowled far better than he did against the West Indies, deceiving a dangerous-looking Pant with flight before dismissing Kohli and Dube. But he couldn’t have his way against Surya.

Rashid concentrated mostly on bowling a fuller length, but Surya countered that by utilising the sweep to good effect. Afghanistan’s pace attack, barring Fazalhaq Farooqi, is their weak link and Surya ensured he capitalised on that as well, bringing up his second consecutive fifty.

The slowness of the pitch certainly played its part in negating India’s top order, particularly when skipper Rohit was dismissed.

The fuller-length delivery from Farooqi (3/33) held onto the surface, hitting the wrong part of Rohit’s bat as he miscued trying to hoick the left-arm quick over the on-side, only for Rashid to take a simple catch.

Even Kohli looked to be undone a bit by the slowness, perishing at deep extra cover
even after striking the ball quite firmly.

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