India set up a semifinal showdown with England in the Men’s T20 World Cup after a 71-run thrashing of Zimbabwe in their final Group 2 match in the Super 12 stage at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
After Rahul gave India a good start with his 35-ball 51 and Suryakumar Yadav smacked a whirlwind 61 not out off just 25 balls in posting a mammoth 186/5, the bowlers made short work of the Zimbabwe batters to bowl them out for 115 in 17.2 overs.
It meant India finished on top of Group 2 and will meet England in the second semifinal at Adelaide on November 10, while Pakistan will face off against New Zealand in the first semifinal on November 9.
In defence of 186, India had success on the very first ball as Wesley Madhevere tried to reach out for a drive on a swinging-away delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but was caught by a diving short cover.
In the next over, Arshdeep Singh lured Regis Chakabva for a drive, but the late swing in off a fuller length meant the ball went through the gate to hit the stumps. With Bhuvneshwar and Arshdeep getting the new ball to swing, it made life difficult for Zimbabwe until captain Craig Ervine took a four each.
After hooking Mohammed Shami for a six over fine-leg, Williams swung away from the body and was caught at the third man on the last ball of Power-play. Post-Powerplay, Ervine chipped in the air off Hardik Pandya and was caught by the bowler off his right hand. In the next over, Shami struck again by trapping Tony Munyonga’s plumb lbw.
Ryan Burl was impressive with his sweep and reverse-sweeps, one of which got him a six off Ravichandran Ashwin apart from smashing anything with width for boundaries off the off-spinner, Pandya and Axar Patel.
But Ashwin struck to break the 60-run partnership, forcing Burl to go for an on-drive on a fuller ball and rattled the stumps. He then took out Wellington Masakadza and Richard Ngarava in quick succession to bag a three-fer. Raza holed out on a pull in the deep off Pandya while Tendai Chatara gave Axar Patel a simple catch off his bowling to give India a huge win.
Brief scores: India 186/5 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 61 not out, K.L Rahul 51; Sean Williams 2-9, Sikandar Raza 1-18) beat Zimbabwe (Ryan Burl 35, Sikandar Raza 34; Ravichandran Ashwin 3-22, Mohammed Shami 2-14) by 71 runs