T20 World Cup | Indians canter on Surya power

Mumbaikar slams fiery 53 in 47-run defeat of Afghanistan
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 21:10 IST

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Barbados: Suryakumar Yadav is built to blend with the Caribbean. His gum-chewing, laidback swag is in line with the essence of these islands, but it’s his batting that really brings it all together. Suryakumar’s usage of a bat is not dissimilar to the practitioners of Calypso music using maracas or cuatro to get that groove going. 

On Thursday, the Kensington Oval had plenty of singing and dancing on a beautiful day in Barbados. Still, it was Suryakumar’s organic merging of cricket from the streets with cricket from the textbooks that had everyone going gaga as he realised 53 runs from 28 balls.

Hardik Pandya didn’t want to be left out of this swag party so he came on hot and heavy too, and just like that the duo added 60 runs from 37 balls to carry India from a bruised start to a cruise en route their highest total in the tournament. 

That hardly means much because they’ve only played at low-scoring venues so far but 181 for 8 in 20 overs was a nice enough total to put up against Afghanistan in their opening Super Eight T20 World Cup fixture on Thursday. 

It turned out to be more than enough as the day rolled on, and as India’s military-grade bowling arsenal, with a general in Jasprit Bumrah (3/7), gave Afghanistan an abridged education in how great teams get things done, Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s men were rolled out for 134 in 20 overs. 

Their faces said it all in the end: they were supposed to give India a fight, their bowling was supposed to win it for them, and their batters were supposed to bat as they have thus far in the tournament. They did none of that. 

They started well, though, getting rid of Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli inside the first ten overs. But India still had 62 runs from 8.3 overs by the time Kohli’s inability to manufacture power reared its ugly head again.

This meant Suryakumar and Hardik had the platform, but they needed to get a gauge of the surface, at least Hardik did. 

Suryakumar’s idea of getting a hang of the conditions was to rely on his sweeps and scoops, and odd positions at the crease to throw the bowlers off. 

Once in, however, he brought out the drives, and a couple of them were so clean and so effortless that he held his high-elbowed posture long enough to get the attention it deserved. 

From the trumpets to the drums, from the locals to the Indians, they all soaked in the magic of the man even as the umpires were forced to replace that ball. 

That would happen again not long after, but this was Hardik’s slap, a hit so well-timed that the ball nearly hit the commentary box and lost shape, forcing another replacement. And then it happened again when Hardik pummelled the ball over the terrace at midwicket.

The umpires were busy on the day, and it was going to get more and more cumbersome as Hardik finally looked the part his reputation insisted. This was a throwback, and even though the duo fell nine runs apart, they had done their bit and looked stunning doing it.  

This, as Rahul Dravid said on the eve of the game, was India adapting to the conditions and relying on all their resources to get the job done. That, he said, is the difference between good sides and great sides. He is right, and it’s there for everyone to see. 

Cut-off box - SCOREBOARD INDIA Rohit c Rashid b Farooqi 8  (13b 1x4) Kohli c Nabi b Rashid 24  (24b 1x6) Pant lbw Rashid 20  (11b 4x4) Suryakumar c Nabi b Farooqi 53  (28b 5x4 3x6) Dube lbw Rashid 10  (7b 1x6) Hardik c Omarzai b Naveen 32  (24b 3x4 2x6)  Jadeja c Naib b Farooqi 7  (5b 1x4) Axar (run out) 12  (6b 2x6) Arshdeep (not out) 2  (2b) Extras (LB-5 W-8) 13  TOTAL (for 8 wkts 20 overs) 181 Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Rohit) 2-54 (Pant) 3-62 (Kohli) 4-90 (Dube) 5-150 (Suryakumar) 6-159 (Hardik) 7-165 (Jadeja) Bowling: Farooqi 4-0-33-3 (w-2) Nabi 3-0-24-0 Naveen 4-0-40-1 (w-3) Rashid 4-0-26-3 Noor 3-0-3-0 (w-1) Omarzai 2-0-23-0 (w-1).  AFGHANISTAN Gurbaz c Pant b Bumrah 11  (8b 1x4 1x6) Zazai c Jadeja b Bumrah 2  (4b) I Zadran c Rohit b Axar 8  (11b 1x4) Naib c Pant b Kuldeep 17  (21b 1x4 1x6) Omarzai c Axar b Jadeja 26  (20b 2x4 1x6) N Zadran c Arshdeep b Bumrah 19  (17b 2x6) Nabi c Jadeja b Kuldeep 14  (14b 1x6) Rashid c Jadeja b Arshdeep 2  (6b) Noor c Rohit b Arshdeep 12  (18b 1x4 1x6) Naveen c Pant b Arshdeep 0  (1b) Farooqi (not out) 4  (1b) Extras (B-4 LB-7 NB-1 W-7) 19 TOTAL (all out 20 overs) 134 Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Gurbaz) 2-23 (I Zadran) 3-23 (Zazai). 4-67 (Naib) 5-71 (Omarzai) 6-102 (N Zadran) 7-114 (Nabi) 8-121 (Rashid) 9-121 (Naveen) Bowling: Arshdeep 3-0-28-2 (w-5) Bumrah 4-1-7-3 Axar 3-1-15-1 Hardik 2-0-13-0 (w-1) Kuldeep 4-0-32-2 (w-1 nb-1) Jadeja 3-0-20-1.  Result: India won by 47 runs.  PoM: Suryakumar Yadav India’s next match: vs Bangladesh (North Sound Antigua June 22). 

Published 20 June 2024, 21:10 IST

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