India end campaign in style
Beat Namibia by nine wickets in Dubai
DUBAI: India defeated Namibia by nine wickets in the final Super 12 match of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021.
India finished the World Cup on a high note, defeating Namibia by nine wickets in the tournament's final Super 12 game.
After Virat Kohli won the toss, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin did most of the damage with the ball, taking three wickets apiece to restrict Namibia to 132/8.
And half-centuries from Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul helped India reach their target with 28 balls to spare, providing a fitting send-off for departing head coach Ravi Shastri.
Both teams knew they had no chance of reaching the World Cup semi-finals, with the tournament's final four already determined to be Pakistan, England, New Zealand, and Australia.
But that didn't stop a high-quality game from taking place in Dubai, with India proving their worth against a Namibian side that has impressed over the last three weeks.
Earlier, openers Stephan Baard and Michael van Lingen set the tone for Namibia with a 33-run opening stand before van Lingen was bowled by Jasprit Bumrah in the fifth over.
With the introduction of Jadeja, India regained control, as the spinner took a wicket in each of his first two overs, dismissing Baard for a run-a-ball 21 and Craig Williams for a duck.
And Ashwin maintained the momentum by luring Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton into a risky cut, which he edged straight to slip, with Namibia reduced to 51/4 at the halfway point of the innings.
Through the middle overs, captain Gerhard Erasmus and dangerman David Wiese attempted to rebuild the innings, with Erasmus falling for a restrained 12 off 20 to Ashwin.
And the Jadeja-Ashwin double act kept Namibia at bay, with both picking up more wickets to keep the power-hitting middle order at bay, with Jadeja dismissing JJ Smit and Ashwin brilliantly bowling Zane Green.
The pair finished their eight overs with a combined figure of 6/36.
Bumrah returned at the death to dismiss Wiese just as he was about to unleash, the allrounder falling for 26 off 25 balls. However, some big hits from Ruben Trumpelmann in the final over lifted Namibia to a respectable 132/8 at the break.
The opening partnership of Rahul and Rohit smashed the Namibia attack in the Powerplay, with Sharma dominating both the strike and the scoring, racing to his half-century in just 31 balls.
However, Sharma's stunning knock was cut short in the tenth over when he top-edged a catch off Jan Frylinck that was taken by the keeper.
Suryakumar Yadav, promoted to third, simply kept the scoreboard ticking with a classy 25* off 19.
And Rahul followed in the footsteps of his opening partner, scoring a 50 of his own, his third of the tournament, in just 35 balls before hitting the winning runs to finish unbeaten on 54.
India's thrashings of Afghanistan, Scotland, and now Namibia were insufficient to make up for early losses to Pakistan and New Zealand, as Virat Kohli's captaincy ended at the Super 12 stage.
The overall quality of Monday's performance, however, suggested that India's T20 squad, which will be led by Rahul Dravid in place of the departing coach Shastri, will be among the favourites for the next World Cup in Australia a year from now.
Namibia will join India in Australia in 2022, having shown promising signs in Dubai but ultimately falling short against one of the tournament's stronger teams.
However, the African nation's World Cup was already a success after they advanced from Round 1, giving them the opportunity to face the best in the Super 12, as well as ensuring their qualification for the next ICC Men's T20 World Cup. And, based on their performances in the UAE and Oman, Namibia's T20I side has a bright future.
Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - T20 World Cup