Suryakumar, Bumrah shine as India defeat Afghanistan

June 22, 2024
India's Suryakumar Yadav hits a four as Afghanistan's Rahmanullah Gurbaz looks on on June 21, 2024.—AFP

BRIDGETOWN: Suryakumar Yadav smashed a fine half-century before India´s bowlers slammed the brakes on Afghanistan´s flamboyant shot-makers to romp to a 47-run win in the T20 World Cup on Thursday.


Suryakumar´s 53 was his 19th fifty in the format and helped India post a challenging 181-8 in their second round Super Eights opener. Experienced fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah then combined with spin trio Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja to strangle Afghanistan, seen by many as dark horses for the title, who were dismissed for 134 off the last ball.

“We adapted well and got 180, which was a great effort from the batters,” said India captain Rohit Sharma. “We had class bowlers who defended it perfectly. Everyone came in and did their job.”

Afghanistan slipped quickly to 23-3 losing openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (11) and Hazratullah Zazai (two) to the wily Bumrah while Patel sent back Ibrahim Zadran (eight). Gulbadin Naib (17) and top-scorer Azmatullah Omarzai (26) put on 44 for the fourth wicket but once they fell to Kuldeep and Jadeja respectively, Afghanistan wilted in their chase.

Bumrah finished with a career best 3-7 from his four overs while fellow seamer Arshdeep Singh took 3-36. Afghanistan, who won their opening three games in the group stage, have now lost back-to-back matches.

In their last first round fixture, they suffered a humbling 104-run setback to the West Indies at St Lucia. “We knew we´d be chasing 160-170 given it was against a bigger team. We could´ve done it had we executed smarter,” admitted Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan.

India and Afghanistan will face Australia and Bangladesh in their remaining Group 1 fixtures with the top two teams making the semi-finals. Suryakumar made 53 from 28 balls with five fours and three sixes and shared a 60-run fifth-wicket partnership with Hardik Pandya.

“I don´t mind giving this player of the match award to a bowler as well,” said Suryakumar. Rashid Khan and left-arm fast bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi both took three wickets for Afghanistan. Farooqi struck first for Afghanistan by having Sharma caught by Rashid for just eight.

It was the 23-year-old Farooqi´s 50th career T20 international wicket. Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant put on 43 for the second wicket with Pant hitting three successive boundaries off Mohammad Nabi.

His 11-ball cameo had yielded 20 runs when he was lbw to Rashid attempting an ill-judged reverse sweep. That left India on 54-2 before Rashid struck again in his next over, claiming the prestige scalp of Kohli who was caught by Nabi at long-off for 24 off 24 balls. Kohli had at least made it to double figures after a miserable run of just five runs in his first three matches at the tournament.