Kohli inspires India again; Zimbabwe ‘stun’ Pakistan

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SA crush Bangladesh by 104 runs

India’s Virat Kohli bats during the T20 World Cup cricket match between India and the Netherlands in Sydney, Australia. (AP)

SYDNEY, Oct 27, (AP): Virat Kohli scored his second straight half-century as India beat the Netherlands by 56 runs, and Zimbabwe held their nerve for a 1-run victory over Pakistan in the latest upset at the Twenty20 World Cup. Three games in Group 2 took place Thursday with South Africa crushing Bangladesh by 104 runs. Rilee Rossouw posted the first century of the tournament.

Kohli scored 62 not out off 44 balls as India kept their perfect record to top Group 2 with four points, one more than South Africa. Third-place Zimbabwe, whose opening group game was abandoned against South Africa, have three points, one more than Bangladesh.

Pakistan are in trouble with zero points. It was Pakistan’s second successive defeat after a nerve-wracking loss against arch-rivals India. Ireland enjoyed a stunning upset in the Super 12s by beating England in a rain-hit game in Group 1 on Wednesday.

Kohli guided his team to 179-2 after India chose to bat first. India captain Rohit Sharma scored 53 while Suryakumar Yadav hit 51 not out off 25 balls and shared an important partnership with Kohli which accelerated the innings. In reply, the Netherlands couldn’t last against a quality Indian attack and finished at 123-9. Earlier, Lokesh Rahul (9) fell cheaply for the second game running. Kohli and Sharma then put on 73 runs off 56 balls for the second wicket. Sharma hit four fours and three sixes, bringing up his half-century off 35 balls. He was caught in the 12th over. India were at 84-2 and still only scoring at seven per over. Kohli and Yadav then put on 95 runs off 48 balls.

Yadav hit seven fours and a six, the latter bringing up his halfcentury off the last ball of the Indian innings. Kohli’s half-century had come off 37 balls, including three fours and two sixes. India’s final acceleration put the game beyond their opponents’ reach. Indian spinners strangled the Netherlands’ chase. Axar Patel recovered from a mauling against Pakistan and took 2-18 in four overs. It was in that game that Kohli scored a match-winning 82 not out off 53 balls. Ravichandran Ashwin had 2-21 against the Netherlands. He dismissed Colin Ackermann (17) and Tom Cooper (9) in the same over. Tim Pringle was the top Dutch scorer with 20 off 15 but the result was never in doubt against an impressive display by the Indian bowlers.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar had economical figures of 2-9 in three overs. Arshdeep Singh took 2-37 while Mohammed Shami finished with 1-27.

Pakistan’s brittle middle-order batters were restricted at 129-8 in a thrilling game at Perth after Zimbabwe chose to bat first and struggled against pace on a bouncy wicket to make 130-8. It just proved enough for Zimbabwe, helped by 14 extras. Unorthodox spinner Sikandar Raza bagged 3-25 and brought Zimbabwe back in the hunt in the 14th over with the wickets of Shadab Khan and Haider Ali off successive deliveries. Raza then dealt a major blow by having top-scorer Shan Masood (44) stumped off a wide ball down the leg side in the next over.

Mohammad Nawaz, who made 22, brought the target down to 11 off the last over and Mohammad Wasim narrowed it to three off the last three deliveries before Brad Evans had Nawaz caught at long off and then Shaheen Afridi was run out off the final ball with Pakistan falling short of the target. Earlier, Pakistan’s tactics of going with four fast bowlers worked out well with Wasim picking up 4-24 and Shadab bowling a tidy spell of 3-23 in the middle overs.

Zimbabwe got off to a flying start of 42 in five overs before slipping to 95-7, losing four wickets for no runs. Sean Williams top-scored with 31 before Shadab ignited the collapse by clean bowling Williams and Babar Azam grabbed a superb one-handed catch offered by Regis Chakabva over his head in the lone slip. Rossouw plundered 109 from 56 deliveries for South Africa against Bangladesh.

After brief concerns about rain, South Africa batted first and posted 205-5. Rossouw and Quinton de Kock put on 163 runs off 81 balls for the second wicket for the highest South African partnership ever at the tournament. De Kock scored 50 off 33 balls and was eventually out for 63 off 38 balls, including seven fours and three sixes. The Proteas then skittled Bangladesh for 101 with Anrich Nortje picking up four wickets.

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