T20 World Cup: India enters Semis after beating AustraliaCricket

June 25, 2024 14:47
T20 World Cup: India enters Semis after beating Australia

(Image source from: x.com/JayShah)

Rohit Sharma's exceptional performance is the driving force behind India's semi-final berth in the T20 World Cup 2024. His unwavering commitment to an aggressive style of play, despite the personal cost, has been a consistent highlight. While this has been acknowledged, it has often been in an intangible manner. However, the upcoming days may witness Rohit's heroics culminating in an ICC trophy. In the sunny conditions of St Lucia, the Indian captain showcased his brilliance, scoring 76 out of his total 92 runs through boundaries, leaving the Australian team with no room to maneuver. His influence even prompted mistakes from the opposition. A total of 205 runs, built on a series of broken records, proved to be an insurmountable challenge for Australia. This performance also offered protection against the threat posed by Travis Head, a rare occurrence in recent times. Though Australia may still reach the final four, they now depend on Bangladesh to defeat Afghanistan (by a non-colossal margin) in St Vincent later on Monday. The Australian team, however, played right into Rohit's hands, with Starc consistently delivering full-length deliveries, a strategy that proved ineffective on the Daren Sammy Stadium pitch. In contrast, Josh Hazlewood demonstrated the more effective approach.

Rohit Sharma's bowling performance was remarkable, as he utilized a combination of yorkers and deliveries on a good length to restrict the opposition to just 14 runs. Meanwhile, Rohit's batting was equally impressive, with him scoring 71 runs, including seven sixes and five fours, as he capitalized on the 24 opportunities he had to play his front-foot shots. On the other hand, the Australian chase started with the early dismissal of David Warner, raising concerns about his potential last international outing. However, the Australian batters, particularly Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head, showcased their prowess by attacking the Indian bowlers. Marsh took Arshdeep Singh for two fours and a six in an over, while Head found success against Jasprit Bumrah, forcing the Indian quick to turn to his backup plan of yorkers. Despite the pressure, even Bumrah struggled to execute his yorkers, resulting in a full-toss delivery. At the end of the powerplay, Australia had scored 65 for 1, five runs better than the Indian team's efforts. The power game of Marsh and the skill of Head in clearing their front leg and finding gaps in the outfield on both sides had effectively turned the tide in Australia's favor.

Axar Patel, stationed a short distance from the boundary at deep square leg, appeared to have made a tactical misstep, given that the powerful Marsh was at the crease. Yet, as Marsh unleashed a powerful sweep shot, the ball rocketed off his bat, hurtling towards the boundary, poised to clear the ropes for a maximum score. One of the team staff members braced themselves, fearing the ball might slam into the fielder. But Axar refused to let that happen. He leapt up, reaching out with both hands, and secured the catch with his right hand alone. It was the kind of grab that just had to stick, and it did. His entire team rushed over to celebrate that crucial wicket. Against the flow of the game, a partnership of 81 runs off 48 balls was finally broken. Glenn Maxwell had been busy neutralizing the advantage India had gained through their skilled spinners. He noticed that Ravindra Jadeja had no fielder at the third-man boundary, and decided to play a reverse sweep, hitting with the spin but against the wind - a significant challenge, given the strong gusts that had even pushed Hardik Pandya off course as he ran in to bowl. Yet Maxwell's deft wrists overcame that obstacle. He was looking increasingly menacing, perhaps even capable of taking on Kuldeep Yadav. So he charged the Indian wrist-spinner, only to be clean bowled. That googly deserves to be immortalized on a wall somewhere - it completely befuddled Maxwell on multiple levels.

The length of the ball was not quite what he had anticipated. It took an unexpected direction, leaving his stumps in disarray. The ball's pronounced curve was quite remarkable. In the following three overs, India seized the momentum, with Bumrah's off-cutter outsmarting Head. Requiring 53 runs from the last 18 deliveries, Australia's best effort was to minimize the extent of their defeat.

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