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India storm into T20WC semifinals as Rohit shines with sparkling 92

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St Lucia: Under the dazzling lights of the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground, India roared into the semifinals of the T20 World Cup 2024, with a scintillating performance led by Rohit Sharma’s masterful 92 here on Monday.

In a high-octane clash against Australia, Rohit’s explosive innings set the tone for an unforgettable night, propelling India to a 24 runs victory and igniting the hopes of millions of fans.

The match began with an early twist as Virat Kohli fell for a duck, leaving the Indian camp momentarily stunned. But Rohit Sharma quickly took charge, dismantling the Australian attack with his trademark elegance and power. Mitchell Starc’s full deliveries became fodder for Rohit’s blade, as he sent the ball soaring over covers and mid-wicket, amassing 29 runs in a single over.

Pat Cummins, another formidable foe, faced Rohit’s wrath as the Indian skipper blazed to a half-century in just 19 balls. Amidst the carnage, Josh Hazlewood’s disciplined bowling provided a semblance of control for Australia, giving away only 10 runs in his three overs during the powerplay, with India at 60/1.

With the foundation laid, Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav added to the fireworks, but it was Sharma’s show all the way. Just as he seemed destined for a century, a perfectly placed yorker from Starc brought his spectacular innings to an end at 92. This dismissal gave Australia a glimmer of hope as Hazlewood, Adam Zampa, and Cummins tightened the screws.

However, Hardik Pandya’s late blitz, including two towering sixes off Marcus Stoinis, ensured India finished with a formidable total of 206.

Australia’s chase got off to a promising start, with Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head forging a strong partnership. Marsh’s quick 37 and Head’s blazing 76 kept the contest alive, but the Indian bowlers had other plans. Kuldeep Yadav’s 4-0-24-2, including the key wicket of Glenn Maxwell, turned the tide in India’s favor.

As the game reached its climax, Australia needed 29 runs off the final over. Hardik Pandya’s steely nerves and pinpoint accuracy restricted them to just four runs, sealing the deal for India. Jasprit Bumrah’s penultimate over was equally crucial, conceding only 10 runs and delivering a crucial dismissal of Travis Head with a cunning change of pace.

Arshdeep Singh’s vital contributions, including dismissing Tim David and Matthew Wade, left Australia with too much to do. His final figures of 4-0-37-3 reflected a mature and impactful performance under pressure.

India’s fielding had its moments of brilliance and blunders. Axar Patel’s stunning catch to dismiss Marsh stood out, even as dropped chances and sloppy ground fielding provided brief lifelines to the Australians. Nevertheless, the disciplined bowling in the death overs ensured these lapses did not derail India’s victory march.

With this thrilling win, India clinched their spot in the semifinals, sending waves of jubilation through the stands and across the cricketing world. The Men in Blue, powered by Sharma’s heroics and a collective team effort, are now just two steps away from World Cup glory.

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