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T20 World Cup: Hardik, Kuldeep star as India thrash Bangladesh by 50 runs, inch closer to semis 

North Sound (Antigua), June 22: Vice-captain Hardik Pandya top-scored with an unbeaten 27-ball fifty and took 1-32 in a top all-round performance, while wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav bowled a stellar spell of 3-19 as India thrashed Bangladesh by 50 runs to claim their second Super Eight stage win in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Saturday.

On a fresh pitch, Pandya smashed four boundaries and three sixes in his undefeated knock, which was key in India amassing 62 runs off the last five overs. Coupled with attacking 30s from Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Shivam Dube, India posted a commanding 196/5 in their 20 overs, their highest total in the competition. In reply, Kuldeep bowled a wonderful spell, helped by bounce and a bit of grip to leave Bangladesh in disarray. The rest of the bowlers produced another outstanding show, and the fielders backed them up very well to restrict Bangladesh to 146/8 and inch closer to the semifinals.

India will confirm their semifinal spot if Afghanistan fail to beat Australia at St Vincent. India dominated from the word go with immaculate ease, as every batter looked to attack, resulting in four batters having strike-rate above 150. It resulted in them posting the highest T20I score at the venue and also hitting 13 sixes -– the most number of maximums they have hit in a T20 World Cup game. Pushed into batting first, with cross wind blowing, Rohit Sharma didn’t let the spinners settle by sweeping Mahedi Hasan for four, followed by repeating the same shot against Shakib Al Hasan for a similar result. Kohli joined in taking the attack to the spinners by smacking Shakib for a clean six over long-on, followed by using his bottom hand strongly in flicking Tanzim Hasan Sakib for four.

Rohit danced down the pitch to hit Shakib for a big six, before slicing him past backward point for four more in the fourth over. Shakib eventually had the last laugh as Rohit got a top-edge on slog and was caught by a backward point to fall for a rapid 23. Kohli used his bottom hand well in swinging Mustafizur Rahman for six, followed by slamming leg-spinner Rishad Hossain down the ground for another maximum. But in the ninth over, Tanzim’s clever change in pace got Bangladesh back in the game –- getting a slower off-cutter which kept straight to castle Kohli for 37.

Though Suryakumar Yadav swiped him for a six, Tanzim got extra bounce on a length delivery outside off-stump to take Suryakumar’s glove edge behind to keeper. Pant, who was at 12 off 15 balls, greeted Rahman with a drive through the gap between cover and mid-off for four. He was quick to heave a slower ball from him high over mid-wicket for six and flicked a full toss in the gap between square leg and fine leg for four more to take 14 runs off the 11th over. Hossain was next in the firing line, as Pant smashed him with the spin over long-on for six and then swept him behind for four more. But Hossain bounced back as Pant reverse-swept straight to short third man, falling for 36.

Pandya and Dube dealt in singles before the former cut loose by hammering Mahedi with the wind through extra cover for six and four respectively. Dube hammered three quick sixes before being castled by a slower googly from Hossain for 34. Pandya continued to be at his free-flowing best – slamming two sixes, before hitting three fours in the final over off Rahman to take India past 190 and get his fifty on the last ball of the innings. Chasing 197 was always going to be an uphill task for a middling Bangladesh batting line-up. Despite the stiff target, Tanzid Hasan began strongly by hitting four boundaries, followed by Litton Das smashing two boundaries.

Pandya got the breakthrough when Das couldn’t control his pull on a wide delivery and was caught at deep mid-wicket. Tanzid was dropped on 24 by Pant off Bumrah but was trapped lbw on the back leg by a stunning googly from Kuldeep. Towhid Hridoy was next to fall as Kuldeep got a leg-break delivery to turn in slightly and go past an attempted slog-sweep to trap him plumb lbw. More success followed India as Kuldeep had Shakib mistime a loft to cover, followed by Bumrah deceiving Najmul Hossain Shanto with an off-cutter which he sliced to a short third man, and Arshdeep bowling a similar delivery to take out Jaker Ali.

Hossain impressed with his hitting abilities by smashing a four and three sixes, before giving a top edge on pull to extra cover off Bumrah, who finished with an economy rate of just 3.2 in another comprehensive win for India and maintained their unbeaten run in the competition. Brief scores: India 196/5 in 20 overs (Hardik Pandya 50 not out, Virat Kohli 37; Tanzim Hasan Sakib 2-32, Rishad Hossain 2-43) beat Bangladesh 146/8 in 20 overs (Najmul Hossain Shanto 40, Tanzid Hasan 29; Kuldeep Yadav 3-19, Jasprit Bumrah 2-13) by 50 runs.

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