India’s Suryakumar Yadav raises his bat after passing 50 runs during the match against Zimbabwe at Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne. AFP
Suryakumar Yadav hit a blazing unbeaten 61 as India set up a Twenty20 World Cup semi-final against England by crushing Zimbabwe by 71 runs at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
India were flying at 87-1 but the loss of three quick wickets slowed them down before Yadav set the proceedings alight, smashing six sixes in his 25-ball blitz to steer them to 186-5, with 79 coming off the last five overs.
Zimbabwe lost two wickets for two runs in reply and were never in the hunt, capitulating in the 17th over in front of 82,507 fans. Ravichandran Ashwin took 3-22 for a rampant India.
The number one-ranked Indians, the 2007 champions, were already through to the semi-finals after the Netherlands upset South Africa earlier in the day.
Victory over Zimbabwe confirmed their position at the top of Group 2 to tee up a last-four clash with Jos Buttler’s England, who finished second in Group 1. The two sides face off at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
Group 1 winners New Zealand will play Group 2 runners-up Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground a day earlier.
India won the toss and batted in the final group game of the Super 12 stage, with a disciplined Zimbabwe — whose semi-final hopes were already over — opening with nine dot balls.
But the runs started flowing with Rohit Sharma slapping a boundary off Tendai Chatara and then KL Rahul lashing a huge six from Richard Ngarava.
Rohit was just getting in the groove when he misjudged a pull shot going for the ropes again and was out for 15, caught in the deep by Wellington Masakadza.
That brought Virat Kohli to the crease and he and Rahul reached 79-1 after 10 overs.