Sunday, July 21, 2024

India sail into Semis, beat AUS by 24 runs!

On a sunny morning in St Lucia, India’s captain scored 76 of his 92 runs in boundaries and left Australia with nowhere to hide. He even prompted them into mistakes. A total of 205 built on a series of broken records proved too much. It even offered insulation against Travis Head and that, in recent times, has been so rare it’s almost unheard of. Australia may yet make the final four, but they need Bangladesh to do them a favour and beat Afghanistan (by non-colossal margins) in St Vincent later on Monday.

On November 19, he was supposed to lead his team to glory but instead walked away with tears in his eyes. On June 24, he had reason to believe all that hurt might rise up again when his opening partner and world-beating bestie Virat Kohli fell for a duck. Some might have taken a backward step. Rohit took Mitchell Starc for 29 runs in an over instead. He was 50 off 19 in the fifth over. The other end had contributed 2 off 13. India’s 52 was the lowest score at which an individual player had brought up a half-century.

David Warner fell in the first over of the chase and now there is risk that his 6 off 6 might be his last international outing. Australia still had batters capable of dictating terms out there though. Mitchell Marsh took the wicket-taker Arshdeep Singh for two fours and a six in an over and Head did even better by hitting Jasprit Bumrah off the length he likes to bowl with the new ball. That made the India quick turn to plan B – yorkers – and under pressure even he missed one and bowled a full toss. Australia finished the powerplay at 65 for 1, five runs better than India. Marsh’s power game and Head’s incredible skill at clearing his front leg and somehow opening vast swathes of the outfield on both sides had flipped the script.

Then a sensational catch by Axar and back to back two over 6 runs bring India back into the game.

India struck twice in the three overs that followed, one of which was Bumrah foxing Head with his offcutter. Needing 53 from the last 18, the best Australia could do was reduce the margin of defeat.

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