Axar and Kuldeep propel India to a 68-run win against England setting up the 2024 T20 World Cup Final against South Africa

unnamed   2024 06 28T193900.519
India once again relied on their spinners to get the job done in Guyana

After going through bouts of rain and sunshine, India qualified for the final of the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup as the Men in Blue defeated England by 68 runs on Thursday at the Providence Stadium in Georgetown, Guyana.

After winning the toss and choosing to field first, English skipper Jos Buttler handed the ball to Reece Topley in the hope of unsettling Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli who are known to be suspect against left-arm pacers.

Topley bowled a neat first over which included a streaky boundary off Sharma’s blade while Jofra Archer’s first over was a quiet one until Sharma almost found Phil Salt at point but the English opening batter wasn’t aware and the ball burst through his hands before reaching the fence.

Kohli punished Topley for bowling a tad full by smashing the first maximum of the innings over the mid-wicket region but lost his wicket a couple of balls later as the southpaw castled the former Indian skipper with a good length delivery.

Archer once again bowled a neat over followed by Topley’s third over which proved to be a touch expensive as the Men in Blue procured 11 runs courtesy of two boundaries from Sharma, the first one clubbed past square leg while the second one was driven through the extra-cover region.

Buttler then turned to Sam Curran and it worked like a wonder as Rishabh Pant found Jonny Bairstow at mid-wicket and he proved to be safe as a house while pouching the catch. Suryakumar Yadav was the next batter to arrive out in the middle and the Mumbai Indians batter started with a beautiful straight drive which dashed to the fence.

After the powerplay overs, Adil Rashid was introduced into the bowling attack and was met with a reverse sweep from Rohit on the first ball and the ball ran off to the fence. On the third ball of the over, the Indian skipper brought out the traditional sweep shot and it once again rewarded him with a boundary.

Chris Jordan was the next bowler to be handed the ball and Suryakumar continued in his usual style as he played the trademark SKY shot as the ball flew over the fine-leg region for his first maximum of the innings.

The rain gods then interrupted India’s innings for a short while which broke the batters’ rhythm allowing Buttler to sneak in a quiet over from Liam Livingstone after the restart. In the 10th over, Rashid conceded one boundary off a full-toss as Suryakumar got down on his knees and swept the ball towards the fence.

Livingstone almost bowled another quiet over as he conceded only 3 runs off the first five deliveries of the 11th over but the Indian skipper resumed normalcy when he smacked the ball down the ground for his first maximum of the innings.

After another economical over from Rashid, Suryakumar opened up his arms against Curran on the first delivery of the 13th over, slapping the ball over backward point for a maximum. His partner and skipper also joined him with a sweep-esque shot that flew over backward square leg for another maximum bringing up his third half-century of the ongoing campaign.

The partnership between Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav helped India massively

Later in the over, Suryakumar pulled a short ball that raced to the fence as India procured 19 runs from the 13th over giving the Men in Blue some much-needed momentum ahead of the death overs. 

The lack of bounce undid the Indian batters for the third time in the day as the googly kept low and sneaked under Rohit’s bat ending his innings at a score of 57 runs off 39 balls. The 15th over started with a cut shot from Suryakumar that awarded him a boundary but Livingstone pulled things back by conceding only a run from the remaining five deliveries.

Archer’s reintroduction allowed Hardik Pandya to free his arms and procure his first four of the day with a well-executed cut shot but Surykumar perished to England’s fast bowler who bowled a slower ball and Jordan completed the catch safely in the deep ending Surykumar’s innings at 47 runs off 36 balls.

The 17th over was surprisingly bowled by Livingstone and the pair of Ravindra Jadeja and Pandya failed to counter the wrist-spinner procuring only 6 runs from his over. India’s vice-captain then decided to target Jordan, smashing two consecutive maximums, the first one wide of long-on while the second went over Curran at long-off but Pandya perished trying to go for another one as Curran pouched the ball in the deep safely.

Shivam Dube arrived at No.7 and was out on a golden duck as Jordan found the outside edge off Dube’s blade with Buttler completing the catch in his mitts behind the wickets.

Archer was then invited back to complete his quote of overs but conceded a boundary to Jadeja who cut the ball to the fence followed by a sweep shot that also dashed to the fence for four runs.

Axar Patel then put the finish touches with a one-handed six over the cow corner before holing out in the deep while going for another maximum as Salt completed the catch with the Men in Blue ending with a respectable total of 171 runs.

Arshdeep Singh started well against the pair of Buttler and Salt by conceding only 5 runs in the first over while troubling both batters with the ball shaping both ways. England’s first boundary came in Jasprit Bumrah’s first over as Buttlr smartly opened the face of the bat to guide the ball towards the fence.

Buttler tried to get the momentum on his side by stepping out and smashing Arshdeep over mid-off for the second boundary of the innings followed by another four as the left-arm fast bowler started to lose his line. After a couple of dot balls, Buttler bounced back by punching a short delivery through the off-side for another boundary.

Axar Patel bagged the Player of the Match award for his performance in the semi-final

Axar ended Buttler’s innings on his first ball of the spell as the English skipper tried to bring out the reverse-sweep but the ball could only travel as far as Pant who pouched the ball in his gloves to delight the Indian crowd in Guyana.

Bumrah was brought back from the other and it worked instantly as an off-cutter from India’s best bowler castled Salt ending his innings at a score of 5 runs off 8 balls. Jonny Bairstow was the next batter to be dismissed as a drifter from Axar stayed a tad low and went on to crash into the off stump as Bairstow went back to the pavilion without disturbing the scorers.

Kuldeep Yadav was introduced immediately after the powerplay overs and he almost bowled a pretty economical over before Harry Brook brought out the traditional sweep shot to procure a boundary off the last ball of the over.

Axar got his third wicket of the day and yet again, on the first ball of his over, with Moeen Ali losing balance and allowing Pant to undo the bails to put the English side under a lot of pressure.

Kuldeep was the next to strike as it almost became a tradition for England to lose a wicket on the first ball of the over with the left-arm wrist-spinner trapping Curraan Leg Before Wicket prompting England to send Livingstone out to bat.

Jadeja was the next to be handed the ball and the Chennai Super Kings all-rounder continued his bad form with the ball in hand as Harry Brook procured his second boundary of the innings through the extra-cover region.

After the drinks break, Jadeja missed a chance to get Brook run out and the young starlet punished Kuldeep with a reverse sweep that ran to the fence in the third-man region before the left-arm spinner exact revenge and castled Brook who was trying to go for another reverse-sweep but ended his innings at a score of 25 runs off 19 balls.

An economical over from the other end from Jadeja helped in pushing the required rate above 12 and with only 4 wickets in hand, it looked like a pretty tough job for Livingstone and the tail to achieve in the last eight overs.

The task was cut out for English batters and they made it even tougher with Jordan getting trapped LBW off Kuldeep’s bowling who finished with figures of 3/19. Jadeja then bowled another economical over giving away only 4 runs in the 14th over.

Axar was then brought back into the bowling attack and Archer freed his arms by smashing a maximum down the ground but the fast bowler was then at fault for a run-out dismissal of Livingstone as Kuldeep and Axar combined to enact the run-out of England’s last recognised batter as Axar finished his spell with figures of 3/23.

Hardik was then surprisingly called over to bowl his first over of the day and his franchise teammate Suryakumar enforced the run-out of Rashid with a smart throw off the back of his hand.

Pandya then bowled full to Archer who smashed the ball out of the park for his second maximum of the innings followed by another boundary wide of long-off which helped England reach the 100-run mark after an embarrassing batting collapse.

Bumrah’s re-introduction wrapped up the proceedings as Archer was trapped LBW helping the Men in Blue seal a 68-run win to set up a date in the final against South Africa.