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Yadav stars as India beat Zimbabwe to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup

India brushes aside Zimbabwe to seal the semi-final date against England.

Suryakumar Yadav posted a dazzling unbeaten record of 61 as India set up a Twenty20 World Cup semi-final against England and a possible final against Pakistan by crushing Zimbabwe by 71 runs at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.

India were flying at 87-1, chasing 187, but the loss of three quick wickets slowed them down before Yadav ignited the process, smashing six sixes in his 25-ball blitz to take them past Zimbabwe’s total, with 79 coming off the last five overs.

India, ranked as the best T20 team in the world and winner of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, reached the semi-finals before the first ball was thrown after the Netherlands defeated South Africa earlier that day.

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Victory over Zimbabwe confirmed their position at the top of Group 2 for a quarter-final clash with Jos Buttler’s England, who finished second in Group 1. The two teams meet at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

Group 1 winner New Zealand will play Group 2 runners-up Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

India won the toss and batted in the final group game of the Super 12 stage, with a disciplined Zimbabwe, whose semi-final hopes now over, opened with nine point balls.

But the runs began to flow, with Rohit Sharma slapping a limit off of Tendai Chatara and then KL Rahul blasting a massive six off Richard Ngarava.

Sharma was just getting into the groove when he misjudged a drop shot headed for the ropes again and was eliminated for 15, caught deep by Wellington Masakadza.

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That brought Virat Kohli to the crease and he and Rahul made it 79-1 after 10 overs.

Kohli became the leading run scorer in T20 World Cup history last week and scored three half centuries during the tournament.

But there wouldn’t be an explosive fourth, with the master hitter poking in 26 off Ryan Burl, undone by Sean Williams’ spin.

KL Rahul has found form at just the right time for India, scoring his second consecutive fifty in the tournament. [WILLIAM WEST / AFP]

Zimbabwe’s chase got off to a terrifying start with Wesley Madhevere serving out the first ball, sending Bhuvneshwar Kumar into the decks, where Kohli held on.

It went from bad to worse when Regis Chakabva also went down scoreless, brought down by Arshdeep Singh to make it 2-2.

Williams and skipper Craig Ervine posted 26 for the third wicket before they both parted in the space of six balls: Williams caught Mohammed Shami for 11 and Ervine caught and bowled for Hardik Pandya for 13.

Sikander Raza and Ryan Burl came to the rescue, with spinner Axar Patel coming in for special punishment.

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They made 60 runs before Burl was bowled by Ashwin for a 22-ball 35. The wickets continued to fall with Raza, the penultimate batsman, out for 34.

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