India down Afghanistan in T20 World Cup Super 8s match

New York   -   Suryakumar Yadav’s blistering half-century and a formidable bowling performance powered India to a convincing 47-run win over Afghanistan in the 43rd match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 on Thursday. Set a challenging target of 182, Afghanistan faltered and could only manage 134, being bowled out on the final delivery of their innings. Afghanistan’s chase got off to a shaky start, losing three wickets for just 23 runs within the first 4.1 overs. Gulbadin Naib and Azmatullah Omarzai attempted to stabilize the innings with a 44-run partnership for the fourth wicket. However, both fell in quick succession, reducing Afghanistan to 71/5 in 11.1 overs. Naib scored 17 off 21 balls, including two boundaries and a six, while Omarzai top-scored for Afghanistan with 26 off 20 balls, hitting two fours and a six. Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran added 31 runs for the sixth wicket before Zadran was dismissed in the 16th over after scoring 19 off 17 balls. Nabi was out in the next over for 14 off 14 balls, and the tailenders could not withstand India’s bowling attack. Despite Noor Ahmad’s valiant 12, Afghanistan’s innings folded at 134.Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh spearheaded India’s bowling with three wickets each, while Kuldeep Yadav took two, and Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with one. Earlier, India posted 181/8, thanks to Suryakumar Yadav’s quickfire 53 off 28 balls and Hardik Pandya’s crucial 32 off 24 deliveries. India’s innings began on a shaky note as captain Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 8 in the third over by Fazalhaq Farooqi, with the score at 11.

 Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant then put together a 43-run partnership, with Pant being the aggressor, scoring 20 off 11 balls. Kohli, who scored a steady 24 off 24 balls, was out in the ninth over.

Yadav took charge, building a brief partnership with Shivam Dube (10 off 7) before finding solid support from Hardik Pandya. Their 60-run stand tilted the game in India’s favor until Yadav was dismissed in the 17th over by Farooqi. Yadav’s innings featured five fours and three sixes.

India suffered a double blow in the 19th over when set batsman Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja were dismissed in quick succession, leaving the team at 165/7. Axar Patel and Arshdeep Singh then added a 16-run partnership, with Patel scoring 12 off 6 balls before being run out on the final delivery.Farooqi and Rashid Khan were the standout bowlers for Afghanistan, each taking three wickets, while Naveen-ul-Haq took one.

Player of the match Suryakumar Yadav reflected on his performance, saying, “A lot of hard work and practice went into this. I have a clear routine and process when I step out to bat. I believe any bowler could have deserved this award as well. This is my first Player of the Match award as a batter, and hopefully the first of many. Rashid Khan’s bowling is always challenging to face.

“Adjusting from the USA to the West Indies conditions was crucial; knowing the game plan was key. When Hardik [Pandya] joined me, I emphasized not leaving too much for the end when the ball starts to reverse. We aimed to accelerate by the 16th over and build from there, focusing on the team’s goals.”

Scores in Brief

INDIA 181-8 (Suryakumar Yadav 53, Hardik Pandya 32, Rashid Khan 3-26, Fazalhaq Farooqi 3-33) beat
AFGHANISTAN 134 (Azmatullah Omarzai 26, Gulbadin Naib 17, Jasprit Bumrah 3-7, Arshdeep Singh 3-25) by 47 runs.

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at azharmasood786@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786