India defeated Zimbabwe by 71 runs in their T20 World Cup encounter on Sunday at the the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne and finished as winners of Group 2. They will next play the runner-up of Group 1 England in the semifinal on Thursday.
Chasing 187, Zimbabwe were in trouble early on when they lost opener Wesley Madhevere in the first ball of the innings. Wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva followed suit after he was bowled by Arshdeep Singh. Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl tried to sure up the innings but the latter was bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin for 30 runs. The spinner finished with figures of 3/22.
Zimbabwe then kept losing wickets at regular intervals as the Indian bowlers had a field day in the middle.
Batting first, Suryakumar Yadav reaffirmed his status as world’s number one T20 batter with another piece of gem to propel India to 186 for five in their final T20 World Cup group league game against Zimbabwe on Sunday. Surya smashed an unbeaten 55 off 24 balls with the help of six fours and four sixes. The last five overs yielded as many as 79 runs and bulk of them were scored by the Mumbaikar.
Zimbabwe’s slow bowlers – left-arm spinners Wellington Masakadza (0/12 in 2 overs), Sikandar Raza (1/18 in 3 overs) and Sean Williams (2/9 in 2 overs) did a terrific job between overs 7 to 15 as they literally bottled up the peerless Virat Kohli (26 off 25 balls).
But Surya and Hardik Pandya (18 off 18 balls) added 65 in just 5.5 overs to negate the good work done by Craig Ervine’s slow bowlers.
(With PTI inputs)