India pound Zimbabwe, book semifinal clash with England

Melbourne : Riding high on Suryakumar Yadav and KL Rahul’s fifties, India overpowered Zimbabwe by a big margin of 71 runs at the MCG here on Sunday and topped the Super 12 Group 2 points-table to book a semifinal clash with England.

India were in control of the game, barring the period when Zimbabwe bagged three wickets for 14 runs in 11 balls. KL Rahul’s back-to-back fifties followed by Suryakumar Yadav’s pyrotechnics powered India to 186/5. Suryakumar’s maverick unbeaten fifty helped India post a mammoth first innings score.

SKY hammered 61 off 25 balls with the help of 6 sixes and 4 boundaries in his astonishing innings of an unbeaten 61 runs.

The Mumbaikar delighted his fans with his maverick shots, unbelievably pulling wide outside the off stump balls over square leg for sixes and crafting his patent scoops and mesmerising lofted shots over cover.

Zimbabwe managed to pull things back somewhat after KL Rahul’s 51 (35 balls, 3x6s 3x4s), but SKY took charge along with Hardik Pandya who scored 18 in as many balls before falling to Richard Ngarava.

Blessing Muzarabani gave Zimbabwe their first wicket when he sent back Captain Rohit Sharma for 15 off 13 balls, who pulled straight into the hands of Wellington Masakadza at deep backward square leg.

Inform Virat Kohli joined Rahul who was on a song. Both stitched 60 runs partnership for the second wicket, before Kohli departed after scoring 26 (25 balls 2x4s). He top-edged Sean Williams to Ryan Burl stationed at long-off.

India lost Rahul and Rishabh Pant (3), who came in for Dinesh Karthik, in quick succession, leaving India slipping to 101/4 from 87/2. For Zimbabwe, Williams ended with figures of 2/9, while Ngarava, Muzarbani and Sikandar Raza bagged a wicket each.

In reply, Zimbabwe got off to a poor start as two of their top three batsmen returned without scoring a run against the Indian new-ball swing bowlers. Sean Williams (11) fell off the final ball of the powerplay and captain Craig Ervine (13) marched back after him in a jiffy.

At 36/5, Sikandar Raza (34 off 24) was joined by Ryan Burl (35 off 22) and the duo took the Indian spinners to the cleaners to stitch a half-century partnership.

Ravichandran Ashwin eventually broke the stand by castling Burl and finished with impressive figures of 4-0-23-3. Rohit employed six bowlers and all of them were among the wickets. India will play England in the semifinals on November 10.

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