India Storms into Final with Stellar Performances from Rohit, Axar, and Kuldeep

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India vs England

Despite England’s histrionic 101 all out, you’d have to say that India pretty much had the game in the bag when they put 171 on the board, asking the opposition to chase the highest ever target in a day game in Guyana. The pitch got slower and lower, like Rohit Sharma expected it to, and in hindsight, it was a good toss to lose. Buttler opted to chase, keeping in mind the wet forecast, but the decision was fraught with the risk of batting second on a pitch that was slowing down by the minute. And England’s worst fears came true, their struggles magnified in conditions tailor-made for India’s slow bowlers.

Rohit Keeps India’s Noses in Front

After the scars of Adelaide 2022, India wasn’t going to plod along even if the conditions in Guyana were slow, low, and very dissimilar. The intent was apparent in how Rohit’s first boundary was a streaky leading edge over short third man, but the India captain kept at it, even if it meant smashing one through the hands of Phil Salt at point. At the other end, Virat Kohli looked far less convincing while trying to play the power game early on and fell after scoring a run-a-ball 9, which dropped his average this edition to a lowly 10.71, a far cry from his form at the IPL. Rishabh Pant wasn’t the answer either on the day, perishing at mid-wicket in Sam Curran’s first over, but Rohit’s four boundaries ensured that India was there and thereabouts the par score, admittedly in conditions where the odd ball was staying below the shin.

The Rohit-Suryakumar Show

India has been the fastest scoring team in the middle overs this edition and once again looked the part, scoring at 8 rpo in this phase. The run-rate was down to a sensational 73-run partnership between Rohit and Suryakumar Yadav on either side of a 75-minute rain delay, the duo going hard at anything remotely loose and keeping at the tempo despite the long break in play. Curran came in for some punishment in his second over, conceding 19 runs which featured a six each from both the set batters. Rohit, in particular, was aggressive against Adil Rashid and would end up losing his wicket to the legspinner when a googly stayed low, but not before shipping India through the difficult middle overs against the old ball.

 

Jordan Impedes India’s Charge

How many will be enough on this pitch? India went into this final batting lap with that question in mind, but the answers proved hard to come. Eleven balls after Rohit was dismissed, Suryakumar was caught in the deep brilliantly by Chris Jordan when he mistimed a back-of-the-hand slower ball from Jofra Archer, forcing Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, both of whom walked out to bat ahead of Shivam Dube, to forge a recovery. Pandya then broke the shackles with back-to-back flat sixes against Jordan but would fall trying to make it three in three. When Dube fell for a golden duck in the first over, it was down to Axar and Jadeja to steer India in the final moments and the duo did a phenomenal job, adding as many as 24 runs in the last two overs.

Axar All Over England

He wasn’t bowling in whites, he wasn’t bowling in Ahmedabad, and he wasn’t bowling with the pink ball, but Axar Patel once again proved a handful for England. Given the ball in the PowerPlay, the left-arm spinner deceived Jos Buttler on the reverse-sweep with his first ball and delivered India their most important breakthrough of the match. In Axar’s next, Jonny Bairstow was bowled by one that skidded low. And sandwiched between these two wickets was a Jasprit Bumrah classic. It was the fast offbreak that he bowls and which on this occasion found a way through Phil Salt.

England Succumb to Spin

If Axar’s deliveries weren’t enough of a hint, Kuldeep Yadav turned one big in his first over to portend what was to follow. Lots of spin, inconsistent bounce, and no pace off the pitch – factors which combined to decimate England against the old ball. It was Axar once again who bookended this phase of play, starting by having Moeen Ali stumped down the legside and wrapping it up by running out Jofra Archer. But in the middle, it was Kuldeep playing the protagonist. Curran and Jordan were trapped lbw, but the pick of his three wickets was Harry Brook, who tried to play back-to-back reverse sweeps against the spinner and lost his leg stump as a result.

India Wrap It with 20 Balls to Spare

By the time both teams were in this phase of play, India was counting down to the win. Suryakumar’s run-out of Rashid and Bumrah’s lbw of Archer delivered England out of their misery, and India into yet another ICC final, their first at a T20 World Cup in 10 years.

Conclusion

India’s journey to the final has been marked by remarkable performances, strategic brilliance, and unwavering determination. Rohit Sharma, Axar Patel, and Kuldeep Yadav have been the pillars of this success, showcasing their skills and leadership on the field. As the final approaches, the entire nation stands behind the team, ready to celebrate what promises to be an unforgettable triumph in the annals of Indian cricket.