Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Suryakumar leads India to Super 8s with win over USA


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New York, June 12: Suryakumar Yadav made an unbeaten half-century as India reached the Super 8s despite being given a fright in a seven-wicket win over T20 World Cup co-hosts USA.
Left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh was rewarded for his diligence and accuracy with impressive figures of 4-9 as he helped restrict the United States to 110-8.
Nitish Kumar played some stylish shots to top score for the US with 27 off 23 balls, but the total felt comfortably within reach of India’s powerful batting line-up.
However, a nervous hush descended on the predominantly India-supporting crowd in New York when they made a spluttering start to their reply.
First Virat Kohli nicked off Saurabh Netravalkar for a golden duck then the US left-arm fast bowler picked up the wicket of fellow opener Rohit Sharma via a leading edge to leave India reeling at 10-2.
A pivotal moment came in the 13th over, with India on 59-3, when Netravalkar spilled a high catch at short third that would have dismissed Suryakumar on 22.
From that point Suryakumar sensed it was his day as he and Shivam Dube, who finished with 31 from 35 balls, found the boundary more freely.
The US will also qualify for the Super 8s if they avoid defeat in their final Group A match against Ireland in Florida on Friday, or if the game is rained off.
It’s been a particularly miserable time on the pitch in New York for one of India’s star names.
Kohli came into the tournament on the back of stellar season in the Indian Premier League where he was top runscorer with 741 at an average of 61.75.
Off the field in the Big Apple he has been able to relax in high-end coffee shops with his Bollywood actress wife Anushka Sharma without the frenzied attention he would get a home.
Kohli might have enjoyed his time spent in Manhattan, but his impact on the cricketing graph of the same name barely stretches above the height of a bungalow so far in this tournament.
Scores of four, one and zero in his last three innings, albeit on tricky pitches at the venue inside Eishenhower Park, will be of a nagging concern to India supporters before the Super 8s.
Memories of the USA’s shock win over Pakistan might have caused a few palms to sweat particularly when Rishabh Pant, crucial in India’s own win over Pakistan, saw his middle stump pegged back by Ali Khan.
Recognising the precarious nature of the situation, Suryakumar, a flamboyant 360 player, initially reined in his approach to get India over the line.
His heart would have been in his mouth when Netravalkar, a part-time software engineer and former India Under-19 player, pitter-pattered on the turf at short third underneath a top edge only to fumble it.
For an Associate team to beat a powerhouse like India those types of chances have to be taken and from that point SKY and Dube were able to cruise home with 10 balls to spare.
Earlier, Arshdeep led the way with a brilliant haul of 4/9 that earned him the Player of the Match award, striking twice in the very first over of the United States innings and helping India restrict the tournament co-hosts to 110/8 — normally a modest total in the T20 format but competitive on the unpredictable New York surface.
India, in reply, were off to the worst start possible with left-arm pacer Saurabh Netravalkar — USA’s hero in their stunning victory over Pakistan in Dallas last week — getting rid of Virat Kohli (0) and Rohit (3) in successive overs. Wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant would attempt to mount a rescue in the company of Surya, adding 18 off 20 balls in a 29-run third-wicket stand before getting castled by Ali Khan.
SKY and all-rounder Dube not only weathered the storm early on and steadied the ship for the Men in Blue, they stuck around till the end to ensure India got over the line without much fuss and confirmed remained on top of Group A with a hat-trick of wins.
Surya remained unbeaten on 50 off 49 balls — completing a half-century of fifties in the T20 format — while Dube remained unbeaten on 31 off 35 balls, the Mumbai pair stitching an unbroken 72-run partnership that helped India chase the 111-run target down with nearly two overs to spare. (Agencies)


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