T20 WC: Suryakumar-Hardik guide India to 181/8 against Afghanistan in Super 8s clash

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BRIDGETOWN: A fine half-century by Suryakumar Yadav and his 60-run partnership with Hardik Pandya helped India reach 181/8 in their 20 overs against Afghanistan in the ICC T20 World Cup Super Eights Game at Barbados on Thursday.

India needs to defend 182 runs to start off Super 8s with a win.

After electing to bat first, India was off to a poor start as skipper Rohit Sharma struggled his way towards eight runs before being caught by Rashid Khan at mid-on after 13 deliveries. India was 11/1 in 2.5 overs.

Rishabh Pant was next up on crease and immediately pushed up the run-rate with an array of clean strokes, including his signature sweeps. He dispatched Mohammed Nabi for three successive fours in the sixth over.

India ended the powerplay on high, scoring 47/1, with Rishabh (19*) and Virat (17*) unbeaten. India reached the 50-run mark in 6.4 overs.
Pant’s promising knock was cut short by Rashid Khan, who removed him for just 20 runs in 11 balls, with four boundaries. India was 54/2 in seven overs.

Afghanistan also managed to get a big wicket of Virat, who chipped a Rashid delivery to long-off, where it found the safe hands of Nabi. Virat was gone for 24 in 24 balls, with a six. India was 62/3 in 8.3 overs. Halfway through the innings, India was 79/3, with Suryakumar Yadav (9*) and Shivam Dube (10*) unbeaten.

In the next over, Suryakumar attacked Rashid with a four and six, but the bowler had the last laugh as Dube was removed for 10 runs in seven balls. India was 90/4 in 10.5 overs.

Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar took on Afghan bowlers with more aggression and better body language, bringing up the 100-run mark in 12.2 overs. While Hardik took some time to settle, Suryakumar launched an all-out attack against pace bowling all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai, smashing him for two fours and a six.

At 15 overs, India was 126/4, with Suryakumar (41*) and Hardik (13*) unbeaten. In the 16th over, Hardik smashed Noor Ahmed for a four and six.
Suryakumar was playing on another surface altogether, reaching his half-century in just 27 balls, with five fours and three sixes, smashing a four and six to Farooqi. However, on the next ball, he was caught by Nabi. He was dismissed for 53 in 28 balls, with five fours and three sixes. India was 150/5 in 17 overs.

Hardik’s fine knock came to an end after being caught for 32 in 24 balls by Omarzai. Naveen ul Haq got the wicket. Pandya’s knock had three fours and two sixes. India was 159/6 in 18 overs.

Ravindra Jadeja’s stay at the crease was also short as he could make only seven runs in five balls before perishing to Farooqi with a catch from Gulbadin Naib at short third man. India was 165/7 in 18.4 overs.

India ended their innings with a solid score as Axar chipped in with some useful boundaries, taking Men in Blue to 181/8, with Axar (12) run out on the final ball.

Farooqi (3/33) and Rashid (3/26) were the top bowlers for Afghanistan. Naveen got one wicket. (ANI)

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