By Rex Clementine
India showcased why they are leading contenders to win this ICC T-20 World Cup with a stunning performance signing off the Super Eight stage of the competition with a 24-run win over former champions Australia in St. Lucia. Rohit Sharma’s side topped the group with an unblemished record to book a place in the semi-finals with defending champions England in Guyana.
Australia meanwhile are down and out. They came into the game having suffered a shock loss at the hands of Afghanistan at St. Vincent’s and a defeat in St. Lucia means their campaign is almost over. Their only hope now is Bangladesh beating Afghanistan later on Monday to go through.
India captain Rohit Sharma set up the game for his side posting 92 off 47 balls. He hit seven fours and eight sixes and the 29 runs he scored off a Mitchell Starc over is as good as anything that you see in the game of cricket. That over saw the Indian skipper hitting four sixes.
Rohit was so dominant that when he brought up his half-century, India’s total was 52 for one.
The runs kept flowing even after the Power Play overs as Rohit kept finding the boundary. Eventually when he dragged a Starc delivery onto his stumps, eight runs short of a well-deserved century, the damage was already done.
Cameos by Suryakumar Yadav (31), Shivam Dube (28) and Hardik Pandya (27*) saw India post 205 for five and Australia were always playing catch up.
David Warner was well set up by Arshdeep Singh and was caught at slip. That dismissal may have brought the curtains down on one of Australia’s greatest opening batters.
Travis Head though wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
The memories of last year’s World Cup final when Head robbed India glory may have run through the memories of some, but this was a taller order than  what was presented to Australia in Ahmedabad.
Jasprit Bumrah foxed him with a slower ball. Head made 76 off 43 with the help of nine fours and four sixes.
Jasprit Bumrah had been India’s key match winner so far with the ball, but this time around Kuldeep Yadav caused trouble accounting for captain Mithcell Marsh and dangerman Glenn Maxwell.
India look a formidable unit and beating them in this World Cup is going to be a challenging task.