India rounded off the Super 12s stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 with a resounding nine-wicket victory over Namibia in Group 2.
Both sides had already failed to make the semi-finals before the action got underway in Dubai, but India finished on a high as half centuries from Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul helped them chase 133 with ease.
Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin set the foundation, taking three wickets apiece to help prevent Namibia, for whom David Wiese again top scored with 26, from setting an imposing total on what was a good wicket.
India were left to rue what could have been in the UAE after recording their third win, as two defeats in their opening two games against semi-finalists Pakistan and New Zealand ultimately cost them a place in the last four.
Virat Kohli elected to field after winning the toss in his final T20I as India captain but Namibia made a solid start with the bat.
Stephan Baard’s six off Mohammed Shami helped his side to 25 without loss after three overs but he soon lost his opening partner when Shami caught Michael Van Lingen, 14 off 15 balls, after he miscued a pull shot off Jasprit Bumrah.
No.3 Craig Williams soon followed for a duck after running straight past a Jadeja delivery, Rishabh Pant calmly whipping off the bails as Namibia finished the powerplay on 34 for two.
Jadeja had another when Baard missed a sweep and was trapped lbw for 21 and Namibia were in further trouble at 47 for four when fellow spinner Ashwin got in the act, having Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton caught at slip for five.
That brought Namibia’s most productive pair at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 together, as Wiese joined captain Gerhard Erasmus at the crease.
They shared a stand of 25 until Erasmus, 12 off 20 balls, nicked Ashwin behind to Pant who took a superb catch after a big deflection.
Namibia showed some fight, taking 21 from the next 15 balls before JJ Smit became Jadeja’s third victim from the last ball of his spell, Sharma’s diving catch sending him back for a run-a-ball nine with the score 93 for six with five overs to go.
Not to be outdone by his teammate, Ashwin bowled Namibia wicket-keeper Zane Green for a golden duck to also pick up his third scalp of the innings, finishing with three for 20 from his four overs.
Namibia brought up their 100 in the 17th over as Wiese found support from Jan Frylinck.
But the former South Africa international was outfoxed by a Bumrah slower delivery in the penultimate over, Sharma taking another catch to send the all-rounder packing for 26 off 25 balls.
By the time Ruben Trumpelmann had scored 13 off Shami’s 20th over, 37 runs had come from the final four, as Namibia left India needing 133 to sign off with a win.
Trumpelmann then switched to his primary suit of bowling and should have had the huge wicket of Sharma to his name, but Van Lingen dropped the Indian opener at short fine leg, allowing him to get off the mark.
Sharma had another life when a one-handed hack off Wiese somehow fell safely before he swatted the next ball for six behind square on the legside to get India going.
Another boundary off Trumpelmann’s second over brought up 3,000 T20I runs for Sharma but he again had a close shave when a mis-timed pull fell just short of the fielder.
Sharma and KL Rahul had India cruising as they raced to 54 without loss by the end of the powerplay.
And the former brought up an action-packed 50 off 31 balls, his second of the tournament, as India showed no sign of taking their foot off the gas.
Eventually, however, Namibia made a breakthrough with Frylinck dismissing Sharma for 56 as wicket-keeper Green held onto the catch to end the opening partnership of 86 one ball before the halfway point.
Sharma had dominated the strike with Rahul, but the latter upped the ante after losing his partner and was joined by Suryakumar Yadav who showed off his ability to score all around the ground in an entertaining unbeaten 25 from 19 balls.
Rahul brought up his third 50 of the tournament from 35 balls before hitting a boundary to end his side’s campaign in style with 28 balls to spare.
Scores in brief
India beat Namibia at Dubai International Stadium, Dubai by nine wickets
Namibia 132/8 in 20 overs (David Wiese 26, Stephan Baard 21; Ravindra Jadeja 3/16, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/20)
India 136/1 in 15.2 overs (Rohit Sharma 56, KL Rahul 54 not out; Jan Frylinck 1/19)
Player of the match: Ravindra Jadeja (India)