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India triumphs in Super Eight clash against Afghanistan

BRIDGETOWN: In Bridgetown, the India blue shone brightly as they cruised to victory in their first Super Eight game against Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup 2024. Despite a pitch that was tough to bat on, slow and offering significant turn, Suryakumar Yadav found a way to excel, leading his team to an imposing total of 181 for 7. His masterful innings set the stage for Jasprit Bumrah, who swiftly dismantled Afghanistan’s chase with two early wickets, leaving them struggling for the remainder of the match.

Veterans Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, absent from T20I cricket since the end of the 2022 World Cup until January this year, returned with a renewed hunger for victory. Both are driven by a singular goal: to wear the champion’s medal. This ambition has seen them adapt their batting styles. Rohit, although scoring only 8 off 13 balls, aggressively sought boundaries, while Kohli’s intent to dominate led to his downfall as he attempted a six off Rashid Khan, only to be caught.

Suryakumar Yadav’s innings was a testament to his ingenuity. Known for his unconventional shots, this time he thrived by playing smart cricket, understanding his strengths, and executing them flawlessly. His extraordinary shot off Azmatullah Omarzai, pulling a delivery from wide outside off to the square-leg boundary, was a highlight. It was not just a display of audacity but of calculated risk-taking, exploiting the shorter leg-side boundary.

Bumrah, India’s spearhead, was instrumental with the ball. Coming on after Rahmanullah Gurbaz had a strong start, Bumrah immediately employed slower deliveries, which had proven effective earlier. By altering his line and keeping it wide, he curtailed Gurbaz’s scoring areas, showcasing his strategic acumen. His spell, conceding only seven runs, is the second-best by an Indian in a four-over T20I stint, underlining his status as an all-format great.

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