DUBAI, Nov 8:
Captain-in waiting Rohit Sharma made short work of a modest target with an elegant half-century after spinners reigned supreme as India on Virat Kohli’s last day as shortest format captain ended their T20 World Cup campaign with an emphatic nine-wicket victory over Namibia here on Monday.
Rohit, who is set to take over as India’s white-ball captain, smashed 56 off 37 balls with seven fours and two sixes and got fabulous support from another supremely stylish KL Rahul (54 not out off 36 balls) as India chased down the target of 133 in only 15.2 overs.
It was nothing more than a stroll in the park for the Indians, who basically caught the Namibians by the scruff of their necks with spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, snaring six wickets between them.
Then, Rohit dazzled and Rahul sizzled with some breathtaking pick-up pull shots while Suryakumar Yadav (25 not out off 19 balls) showed his 360 degree hitting skills to end a rather disappointing tournament on a sweet note.
But three comprehensive wins against smaller nations came only after the horse had bolted the door.
As outgoing coach Ravi Shastri pointed out, a “mentally and physically” drained Indian team couldn’t switch on during big-match pressure situations as Pakistan and New Zealand literally embarrassed an out of sync team.
The last three games were flawless but it was two matches too late, something that will certainly haunt Kohli, whose white ball captaincy tenure is set to end with no ICC trophy to show for his efforts.
On the night, India’s spinners were just too good for the unheralded Namibia batters as India restricted the minnows to a modest 132 for 8 in their inconsequential final T20 World Cup match.
Already ousted from the tournament after losing to Pakistan and New Zealand in their first two games, India looked relaxed and the the Namibians were all at sea as they are not used to playing world class slow bowling operators of this calibre.
Jadeja (4-0-16-3) and Ashwin (4-0-20-3) took six wickets between them for 36 runs to make it a lop-sided contest after Namibia, courtesy their opener Stephan Baard (21) and Michael van Lingen (14), had added 30-plus runs in the first four overs.
Once Van Lingen was dismissed by a short ball and extra pace from Jasprit Bumrah (4-0-19-2), the will to fight was not evident on the African nation’s batters when Jadeja and Ashwin jointly operated. Mohammed Shami (0/39 in 4 overs) was the only bowler who had an off-day.
Jadeja saw Craig Williams jumping down the track and stopped on his tracks and pitched on length to get enough away turn. Williams missed it and stood mid-pitch looking completely bamboozled.
Baard was out to a typical Jadeja arm ball, which he tried to sweep and was caught plumb in-front. (PTI)
Stephan Baard lbw b Jadeja 21
Michael van Lingen c Shami b Bumrah 14
Craig Williams st Pant b Jadeja 0
Gerhard Erasmus c Pant b Ashwin 12
Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton c Sharma b Ashwin 5
David Wiese c Sharma b Bumrah 26
JJ Smit c Sharma b Jadeja 9
Zane Green b Ashwin 0
Jan Frylinck not out 15
Ruben Trumpelmann not out 13
Extras: (LB-8 NB-1 W-8) 17
Total: (For 8 wickets in 20 overs) 132
Fall of wickets: 1/33 2/34 3/39 4/47 5/72 6/93 7/94 8/117
Bowling: Mohammed Shami 4-0-39-0, Jasprit Bumrah 4-0-19-2, Ravichandran Ashwin 4-0-20-3, Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-16-3, Rahul Chahar 4-0-30-0.
KL Rahul not out 54
Rohit Sharma c Zane Green b Jan Frylinck 56
Suryakumar Yadav not out 25
Extras: (Lb 1) 1
Total: (1 wkts, 15.2 Ov) 136
Fall of Wickets: 86-1,
Bowling: Ruben Trumpelmann 3-0-26-0, David Wiese 2-0-18-0, Bernard Scholtz 1-0-11-0, JJ Smit 2-0-17-0, Jan Frylinck 2-0-19-1, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton 4-0-31-0, Michael van Lingen1.2-0-13-0