World T20: India crush Scotland to stay in hunt for semi-final spot
India remain in contention to reach the Men’s T20 World Cup semi-finals after brutally thrashing Scotland by eight wickets in Dubai.
Requiring a big margin of victory, India dismissed Scotland for just 85 off 17.4 overs, with the superb Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja both taking 3-15.
KL Rahul clattered 50 off 18 balls and Rohit Sharma hit 30 off 16 as India reached 89-2 in just 6.3 overs.
This crushing win crucially takes India’s net run-rate, which determines who progresses if multiple teams finish equal on the same points, above both New Zealand and Afghanistan in Group 2.
New Zealand, who beat Namibia earlier on Friday, are two points above India and Afghanistan, so will progress if they beat Afghanistan on Sunday and join leaders Pakistan in the semi-finals.
But if the Black Caps slip up, India could reach the final four with victory over Namibia on Monday.
Brilliant bowling, brutal batting
India finally showed their true batting pedigree in their crushing win over Afghanistan and here the bowlers fully exhibited their threat.
Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Shami struck early, creating pressure that slow left-armer Jadeja beautifully exploited by bowling Richie Berrington for a duck and trapping Matthew Cross lbw to leave Scotland 29-4 after seven overs.
Scotland scrapped to 81-6 after 16 overs, only to then lose three wickets in as many balls.
Calum MacLeod and Alasdair Evans were bowled by searing Shami deliveries either side of a farcical run out of Safyaan Sharif, before Mark Watt was cleaned up by Bumrah, who is now India’s leading wicket-taker in men’s T20 internationals with 64.
Rahul and Rohit then let loose a stunning onslaught, trying to hit every ball for four or six and often succeeding.
Rohit was trapped lbw by Brad Wheal and Rahul hit the fastest 50 of the tournament so far before he was caught off Watt, with Suryakumar Yadav sealing victory with a straight six.
Opening defeats by Pakistan and New Zealand could well yet ensure India, one of the pre-tournament favourites, fail to reach the semi-finals but their response has been impressive.
Yet it has perhaps also taken them until this match to get the balance of their side right.
This was the first time spinners Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Varun Chakravarthy have all played together in the tournament and their control, partnered with Shami and Bumrah’s pace and the option of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, feels like the bowling unit India should have selected from the start. (BBC Sport)