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T20 World Cup: Arshdeep, Kuldeep star as India storm into semis with 24-run win over Australia

Gros Islet (St Lucia), June 24: Kuldeep Yadav and Arshdeep Singh starred in a terrific comeback with the ball as India cruised into the semifinals of the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup with a crucial 24-run win over Australia in their final Super Eight stage match at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium on Monday. After captain Rohit Sharma unleashed carnage on Australia’s bowlers by smacking a stupendous 92 off 41 balls to help India post a mammoth 205/5, a win seemed distant for India with opener Travis Head clearing his front leg and smacking his shots all over the park in a 43-ball 76. But Kuldeep taking 2-24, including dismissing Glenn Maxwell, followed by Arshdeep picking 3-37 meant Australia were restricted to 181/7 in 20 overs.

The result means India sign off from the Super Eight stage by maintaining their unbeaten record and will face defending champions England in their semifinal clash in Guyana on Thursday. Australia now have their semifinal fate out of their own hands and if Afghanistan beat Bangladesh at St. Vincent, they will be knocked out of the competition. Chasing 205, David Warner fell for six after nicking to diving first slip off Arshdeep.

Mitchell Marsh survived on zero when Rishabh Pant tripped over while chasing a catch off the pull and was later dropped on five when Arshdeep couldn’t take a catch on his follow-through. From there, Marsh began to deal in boundaries, starting by smacking Arshdeep for two fours, before ending third over with a huge pulled six.

Head joined the boundary-hitting spree by slashing and pulling Jasprit Bumrah for two fours, followed by smashing a full toss for four through point. Marsh feasted on Axar Patel’s poor balls by walloping him for four and six respectively, followed by Head lofting and heaving Hardik Pandya for two sixes as Australia ended Power-play at 65/1. Head carried on to deal in boundaries –- hitting a four over Hardik’s head and pulling with ease for six.

But under considerable pressure, Kuldeep broke the 81-run partnership for the second wicket when Marsh got down to sweep, but Axar timed his jump to perfection at deep square leg, and stretched his right hand up to pluck the ball out of thin air. Head slashed, whipped, and sliced Pandya for three fours in the tenth over -– the second of which got him his fifty in 24 balls.

Maxwell brought out some fireworks by taking four from Ravindra Jadeja’s first ball with a deft touch between short third-man and point. He then followed it with two audacious reverse sweeps going for four and six respectively. After that, India bounced back in stunning fashion. In a bid to take on Kuldeep, Maxwell went down the pitch to hack across the line but was left to see his stumps in a mess by the googly. In the next over, Marcus Stoinis went for a reverse sweep off Axar but was caught by backward point on the rebound. Bumrah returned to deceive Travis Head with a slower ball and heaved to cover, falling for 76.

Arshdeep came back to have Matthew Wade and Tim David caught by short third man in quick succession to effectively seal the game in India’s favour. Brief scores: India 205/5 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 92, Suryakumar Yadav 31; Mitchell Starc 2-45, Marcus Stoinis 2-56) beat Australia 181/7 in 20 overs(Travis Head 76, Mitchell Marsh 37; Arshdeep Singh 3-37, Kuldeep Yadav 2-24) by 24 runs.

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