Suryakumar, Bumrah fire as India sink Afghanistan

Suryakumar, Bumrah fire as India sink Afghanistan


Bumrah proved virtually unplayable, taking three for seven runs from his four overs

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Reuters) – India swept to a 47-run victory over Afghanistan in their T20 World Cup Super Eight clash after Suryakumar Yadav struck his second successive half-century and Jasprit Bumrah proved his worth with the ball on Thursday.

Player-of-the-match Suryakumar's audacious 53 from 28 balls propelled India to a daunting 181-8. In reply, Afghanistan were always behind the required run rate and finished on 134 all out from the final ball of the match.

Fast bowler Bumrah proved virtually unplayable, taking three for seven runs from his four overs.

Afghanistan left-arm paceman Fazalhaq Farooqi and off-spinner Mohammad Nabi opened the bowling on a hot, humid day at Kensington Oval.

India captain Rohit Sharma survived an impassioned appeal for lbw off Farooqi when he missed with an ungainly heave to the leg side but he lasted only five balls more before skying a catch to Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan at mid-on to be out for eight.

Naveen-ul-Haq replaced Farooqi and Virat Kohli, who had scored only five runs in his previous three matches, whipped him imperiously through the covers and lofted a six straight over the bowler’s head which hit the sight screen.

Rishabh Pant reverse swept Nabi for four and was then dropped on the boundary by Naveen. The ball crossed the boundary and at the end of the powerplay India were 47 for one.

Rashid took the ball and struck in his first over, dismissing Pant for 20 with his final delivery, lbw attempting a reverse sweep.

He struck again in his second over when Kohli on 24 lofted the ball straight to Nabi on the long-off boundary and then dismissed Shivam Dube lbw for 10.

Suryakumar seized the initiative back for India with two boundaries off Azmatullah Omarzai and a straight six.

Hardik Pandya (32) joined in with a four and a straight six off successive balls from Noor Ahmed.

The pair raised their 50 partnership before Suryakumar was caught but Hardik hit a six on to the top of the Terrace Stand to maintain India's momentum.

Afghanistan lost three wickets in the powerplay, including opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz caught behind for 11 off Bumrah who also dismissed Hazratullah Zazai for two.

They fell steadily behind the required run and still needed 81 off five overs when Bumrah returned.

He struck immediately by dismissing Najibullah Zadran caught for 19 to quash any Afghanistan hopes of an unlikely victory.

"We adapted well and got 180 which was a great effort from the bowlers," Rohit said as India remained unbeaten in the tournament.

"We had class bowlers who defended it perfectly. We know Bumrah's class and what he can do."

India need to manage Bumrah smartly, says skipper Rohit

Bumrah demonstrated yet again how crucial he is to India's fortunes in the T20 World Cup, and captain Rohit Sharma said he will need to manage his pace spearhead smartly to get the best out of him.

Bumrah struck twice in the powerplay overs to effectively derail Afghanistan's chase after India had posted 181-8.

The wickets included Afghanistan's leading scorer in the tournament Rahmanullah Gurbaz, deceiving the opener with a change of pace.

The seamer with a slingy action then returned to remove Najibullah Zadran and effectively seal the match in India's favour.

"We know Bumrah's class and what he can do," Rohit said as his team remained unbeaten in the tournament.

"It is important for us to use him smartly.

"He is the one who is ready to take the responsibility (of leading the attack)."

India dropped seamer Mohammed Siraj and picked Kuldeep Yadav in a three-pronged spin attack.

Rohit said the 2007 champions, who face Bangladesh in their next group one match on Saturday, would be flexible with their bowling combinations.

"We have to assess conditions, opposition and based on that we're open to making changes if required," he said.

"We felt three spinners were good here. If it's seamer-friendly next time, we'll go with (three) seamers."

We have to prepare to chase big scores, says Rashid

His counterpart Rashid Khan said Afghanistan should be prepared to chase such bigger scores in the Super Eight stage.

"That was a surface we thought we could chase 170-180," the all-rounder said.

"Against bigger teams, we should be thinking we will have to chase such scores."