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T20 World Cup 2024: Axar, Kuldeep spin it India’s way

India bowled England out for 103 runs in 16.3 overs to book their spot in the summit tie against South Africa in a couple of days from now.
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 22:29 IST

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Stay where your feet are’ is the latest in a long line of cliches the Indian team has adopted, using it ad nauseam during this T20 World Cup.  

It’s a wonder which self-help book batting coach Vikram Rathour borrowed that line from, but wherever the source, it seems to be helping the side because they’re in the final, and they stayed at their feet all along. 

On a moody Thursday, they didn’t allow themselves to get carried away by the gravity of the moment. Instead, they remained poised in the face of the semifinals, in the face of England, and came away with a 68-run victory in Guyana. 

That India has been the most consistent team in the tournament is an easy inference to make given that they are yet to lose a game in seven contests, but that doesn’t necessarily convey their dominance across a wide variety of conditions, circumstances and oppositions.

That came through when they met their first real test, after the pitches in New York of course, against Australia. They put them away by 24 runs. But this, the game against the defending champions, was the one which was going to display the entirety of their brilliance. 

India put up 171 for 7 in 20 overs after being asked to bat on a deceptively slow pitch. 

India bowled England out for 103 runs in 16.3 overs to book their spot in the summit tie against South Africa in a couple of days from now. 

If that is not dominance, nothing is, and we should all be so glad that we got to witness it (well, whoever had the patience to stay awake in India) because early on it seemed like rain would have more of a say than willows and balls.

The game started an hour and fifteen minutes past the scheduled time (10.30 am), and the pitch, which looked pleasantly even was beginning to act up. 

Despite these conditions, Rohit Sharma cracked a workmanlike 57 from 39 balls, Suryakumar Yadav put up a handsome 47 from 36, and Hardik Pandya (23) provided some meat to the total. 

The innings wouldn’t be without a 38-minute stoppage in between either. In that context, the fact that India were able to put aside this stop-start innings and put up a good total was impressive. 

Coincidentally, this score was not dissimilar to the tally they put up against England in 2022. That November night resulted in a mauling as England won by ten wickets at the Adelaide Oval. 

The Providence is no Adelaide. England figured out that out the hard way. 

Jos Buttler’s flashy start certainly brought back memories of that night in Adelaide, but once he toe-ended a reverse-sweep attempt off Axar Patel’s first ball in the innings into the gloves of Rishabh Pant, England were already on the back foot. 

Oh, and it was only about to get worse and worse for England as the afternoon ensued. As the pitch became about as languid as the people of the land, the troika of Axar (3/23), Kuldeep Yadav (3/19) and Ravindra Jadeja made plenty evident why the Indian management came to the Caribbean with four spinners in the squad. 

They knew that they would be playing in the semifinals (if they got through the Super Eights), and so packed their side with all the necessary tools needed to be successful here. The proof is in the pudding. 

So, while one could drag up the fact that this entire tournament seems to be built to ensure that the Indian team remains in contention for the final (you know, broadcasters love the Indian audience), it would not be fair to take away just how good this team has been.

Lest we forget, though, that’s what they were at the 50-over World Cup a few months ago too. We know how that turned out. 

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Published 27 June 2024, 22:29 IST

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