ADELAIDE: Virat Kohli became the highest run-scorer in Twenty20 World Cup history Wednesday as India edged Bangladesh by five runs in a crunch rain-hit Twenty20 World Cup clash in Adelaide that went to the last ball. India go top of Group 2 and can clinch a semi-final spot with a win against Zimbabwe in their final Group 2 match on Sunday after Bangladesh faltered in their revised chase of 151 in 16 overs.
Kohli’s unbeaten 64 had steered India to 184-6 but Bangladesh had looked on course for victory after racing to 66-0 in seven overs when rain stopped play causing four overs to be lost. Opener Liton Das hit a 27-ball 60 but his run out after the 50-minute interruption heralded a Bangladesh collapse and ended on 145-6. “It was another good day with the bat I guess,” said Kohli who is back to his best after enduring a long fallow form period. “I was trying to play myself into the innings. I’m just in a happy space, I don’t want to compare anything. What’s in the past is in the past,” he said.
Needing 20 off the final over, Nurul Hasan gave them hope with a six and a four but left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh held his nerve on the last ball to hand India their third win in four matches. It leaves Bangladesh all but out of the semi-finals picture. “It’s been the story when we play India,” lamented captain Shakib Al Hasan. “We’re almost there but don’t cross the line. It was a great game, the crowd enjoyed, both teams enjoyed, in the end someone has to win and someone has to lose.”
Das gave the team a blazing start, reaching his fifty in 21 balls, but once he fell to KL Rahul’s direct hit India came roaring back. Arshdeep struck twice in one over including the prize of captain Shakib Al Hasan for 13 to turn the tables. Hardik Pandya took two wickets in the 13th over as Bangladesh slumped from 98-2 to 108-6 and despite Hasan’s 14-ball 25, fell short. “Liton is batting really well, probably he’s our best batsman going around,” said Shakib. “We thought we could chase this down after that start.”
‘Grinning from ear to ear’
It was Kohli, who hit an unbeaten 64, and KL Rahul with a blazing 50 that set up India’s victory with a stand of 67. In the process, Kohli overtook former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene’s total of 1,016 runs to become the highest scorer in T20 World Cup history. Jayawardene set his mark from 31 innings but Kohli took only 23 to pass him. “As soon as I knew the World Cup was in Australia, I was grinning from ear to ear,” said Kohli, who clearly loves batting on the faster wickets.l “I knew good cricketing shots would be the key. I knew the kind of experience and game awareness of having played in Australia will come in handy for the team.”
In another development, Paul van Meekeren’s three wickets helped the Netherlands claim their first victory of the T20 World Cup Super 12 stage Wednesday as their five-wicket win all but eliminated Zimbabwe. The Dutch, who are already out of the semi-final race, bowled out Zimbabwe for 117 in 19.2 overs at the Adelaide Oval and, led by Max O’Dowd’s 52, achieved their target by reaching 120-5 with 12 balls to spare. “It’s awesome,” said captain Scott Edwards. “We came here to win some games at the Super 12. Good to get the ball rolling after a rocking start.”
Zimbabwe, who just have a one win from their four matches, need a mathematical miracle to make the semi-finals as one of the top two teams in Group 2, currently led by South Africa who next play Pakistan on Thursday. O’Dowd and Tom Cooper, who made 32, put on a second-wicket stand of 73 to guide the team home as the fans poured in for the evening match of the Adelaide double-header between India and Bangladesh.
“I was quite scrappy at the start. It was important to adapt to the wicket,” said player of the match O’Dowd. “Zimbabwe have some tall boys, so they have extra bounce. I took time to adapt but eventually adapted well to bat as long as I could.” Stephan Myburgh fell to Blessing Muzarabani for eight in the fourth over before O’Dowd and Cooper began to score freely chasing a modest 118-run target. Luke Jongwe had Cooper caught out to end a 29-ball knock, which included two fours and a six. O’Dowd reached his second fifty of the tournament with two straight boundaries but soon got out to Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava sent back skipper Scott Edwards but Bas de Leede stood firm to hit the winning four.
“Our bowlers were sensational, the top four got us pretty close to the total too,” said Edwards. “Max has been sensational for the past four to five years. He rocks up at big occasions.” The Netherlands bowled out Zimbabwe, who elected to bat first, in 19.2 overs despite a 24-ball 40 by the in-form Sikandar Raza. Van Meekeren bowled Wesley Madhevere for one with the batsman playing all over a fast and straight delivery.
The quicks kept up the pressure with disciplined bowling and Brandon Glover got Zimbabwe skipper Craig Ervine caught for three. Zimbabwe soon slipped to 20-3 in six overs. Raza hit back with a six and a four in a 14-run ninth over from Glover and put on 48 runs with Sean Williams, before Van Meekeren broke through. The left-handed Williams made 28 off 23 balls but got out to Van Meekeren, caught in his attempt to ramp up the scoring. – AFP