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T20 World Cup 2024: Rohit leads in India to 171/7

This alliance of intent and rationale meant India would go into the second half of their T20 World Cup semifinal against England with the upper hand after getting to 171 for 7 in 20 overs at a moody Guyana.
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 18:46 IST

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Smart cricket. That’s what Rohit Sharma wanted for his team, for himself. On Thursday, you could see that that desire to play ‘smart cricket’ wasn’t just lip service. It was about as real as his intentions have been in this tournament.

This alliance of intent and rationale meant India would go into the second half of their T20 World Cup semifinal against England with the upper hand after getting to 171 for 7 in 20 overs at a moody Guyana.

Turns out, forecasts of 80 percent rain were true as the Providence Stadium was covered in a blanket of grey before the start.

The expectedly excellent drainage facility at the venue ensured the game would begin, albeit an hour and fifteen minutes past the scheduled time of 10:30 am (8 pm IST), and India, having lost the toss were asked to bat.

It was an interesting call from England skipper Jos Buttler for the pitch looked good, and the sun was at its blistering best by the revised start of play (11:45 am). Grassless, hard, with stable cracks and some moisture still, the pitch, however, turned the table on those predictions by playing unreasonably low.

Having come from St Lucia, from their previous game against Australia where the pitch was probably the best all tournament long, the Indian batters were in all sorts of awkward positions.

Rohit was coming on a bit better, but a second spell of rain (12:23 pm) ended hopes of continuous action (play resumed at 1:40 pm). This, therefore, was not an innings typified by Rohit’s elegance, this was more workmanlike.

Virat Kohli doesn’t particularly enjoy doing the dirty work so he, as has become the norm now, tried to force the issue and ended up getting cleaned up by Reece Topley.

While Kohli's latest dismissal was not nearly as ugly as some of the other ones his fans have had to endure all tournament long, this one is particularly worrisome because this is the business end of the tournament, and he has 75 runs from seven games at an average of 10.71. This is unequivocally the worst tournament Kohli has ever had as a batter.

Luckily for him, Rohit (57) seems to be carrying the batting load rather swimmingly, and Suryakumar Yadav (47) is in fine nick too.

The third-wicket duo realised a more-than-useful 73 from 50 balls to take India from a dicey 40 for 2 to 113 before Rohit was made to look ugly by a googly from Adil Rashid, the leg-spinner finishing with 1 for 25 from four overs.

That said, the fact that this alliance came on either side of a 38-minute rain stoppage, was impressive. However, that they were dismissed eleven runs from each other didn’t help the Indians. Neither did the highly efficient Liam Livingstone.

Hardik Pandya’s (23) flat-batted brilliance mitigated some of the effects, Ravindra Jade’s (17 n.o.) cameo was worthwhile too, and just like that the Indians got to a decent total despite some scratchiness in the last few overs.

While India will feel like they didn’t hold onto momentum and build a bigger score, they will be aware that this pitch is getting progressively slower and so their spinners, and of course Jasprit Bumrah, should be able to hold their own.

Maybe another spinner would have been handy, and they do have Yuzvendra Chahal in the dugout, but the team believes in itself and continues to back itself, and the likes of Shivam Dube. How that pans out, we’ll know soon enough.

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Published 27 June 2024, 18:46 IST

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