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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

‘Big relief’ for India to progress at T20 World Cup, says Rohit

India made it three wins from three Group A games and join Australia and South Africa in the Super Eights stage.

India captain Rohit Sharma admitted it was a “big relief” for his highly-fancied team to reach the T20 World Cup second round after a seven-wicket win over the United States on Wednesday.

India made it three wins from three Group A games and join Australia and South Africa in the Super Eights stage.

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After starting their campaign with a comfortable eight-wicket mauling of Ireland, Rohit’s men then successfully defended a modest 119 to defeat bitter rivals Pakistan by six runs.

On Wednesday, back at the tricky and low-scoring Nassau County International Cricket Stadium pitch, India were set a 111-run target to beat the hosts.

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They were wobbling at 15-2 and then 44-3 before Suryakumar Yadav (50) and Shivam Dube (31) put on an undefeated fourth-wicket stand of 67 to secure victory with 10 balls to spare.

“It’s a big relief to reach the Super Eights. It could have been anyone’s game in all three games we played,” said Rohit.

“You have to stick to the end and take the game deep. Playing here wasn’t easy.”

As well as vital knocks from Yadav and Dube, India were indebted to left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh who claimed a career-best 4-9 to restrict the United States to 110 in their 20 overs.

“We knew this was going to be a tough task. We lost some wickets up front but we showed some maturity to take the game to the end,” added Rohit who made just three after superstar teammate Virat Kohli was dismissed for nought off the first ball he faced.

Rohit paid tribute to the USA team, some of whom were familiar faces.

Mumbai-born opening bowler Saurabh Netravalkar, who played for India at the 2010 Under-19 World Cup, had the consolation of dismissing both Kohli and Rohit, finishing with 2-18 from his four overs.

Netravalkar had already made his mark in his team’s sensational victory over 2009 champions Pakistan in Dallas when he bowled the decisive Super Over.

“We played with a lot of these USA players and I am very happy to see their progress in cricket,” added Rohit.

“They are going from strength to strength and I wish nothing but the best for them. They are hard working guys and they are marking their mark in the US.”

Despite Wednesday’s defeat, the United States are still well-placed to join India in the Super Eights as they have four points while Pakistan and Canada are on two with a game each to play.

The US face rock-bottom Ireland in their last pool game in Florida on Friday where a win or even a no-result will put them into the next round.

“We’ve still got a game to play, so we’ll regroup and come back hard against Ireland after some discussions,” said batsman Aaron Jones who took over the captaincy duties from the injured Monank Patel.