Suryakumar Yadav played yet another breathtaking knock of an unbeaten 61 from 25 balls followed by superb bowling from the bowlers helped India bundle out Zimbabwe for 115 to clinch a 71-run win in their final Group 2, Super 12 match of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup at Melbourne on Sunday.
India close out the Super 12s with a comfortable win to top their group - they will play England in Thursday's semi-final at Adelaide. With four wins out of their five matches, India have 8 points.
Defending a target of 187, India got off to a flying start as veteran bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar started the innings with a wicket on the very first bowl of his first over as he dismissed Zimbabwe opener Wessely Madhevere for zero.
Regis Chakabva then came out to bat on the crease. In the second over Arshdeep Singh sent Chakabva packing as he dismissed the batter for zero and left Zimbabwe tottering at 2-2.
Zimbabwe opener Craig Ervine then opened his hands and slammed boundaries at regular intervals. In the 6th over of the innings, Mohammed Shami showed his world-class bowling as he removed Sean Williams for 11 off 18.
India's star all-rounder Hardik Pandya came into the attack and the bowler dimissed well-set batter Ervine for 13 off 15. Pandya delivered a stunning ball as he caught and bowled the Zimbabwe batter.
In the 8th over of the innings, Shami struck again and gave Zimbabwe another blow as he dismissed new batter Tony Munyonga for 5 runs. The left-handed batter Ryan Burl then came out to bat. After half of the game, Zimbabwe's score read 59/5, at this stage they needed 128 runs in 60 balls.
Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl opened their hands and slammed Ravichandran Ashwin for 12 and Axar Patel for 16 runs to keep their team in the hunt of the run chase.
The duo started playing aggressively and slammed boundaries at regular intervals. In the 13th over of the innings, the blistering duo also brought up their 58-run partnership stand in 33 deliveries while slamming Axar Patel for 13 runs with the help of back-to-back two fours.
The crucial 60-run partnership stand was broken as Ashwin delivered a stunning delivery to bowl out dangerous batter Ryan Burl for 35 off 22 deliveries.
Wellington Masakadza then came out to bat next. After 15 over of the innings, Zimbabwe's score read 104/6. Experienced bowler Ashwin struck twice as dimissed Wellington Masakadza handed an easy catch to Rohit Sharma after scoring just one run and Richard Ngarava for just one run only.
After delivering 4 overs of his spell Ashwin finished with a figure of 3-23. Pandya then provided his team with a most-crucial wicket as he dismissed Raza, who slammed 34 runs off 24 deliveries, leaving Zimbabwe tottering at 111/9.
Axar then took the last wicket to bundle out Zimbabwe for 115 and handed India a 71-run victory.
Earlier, fifties from KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav powered India to a competitive 186/5 in their 20 overs.
KL Rahul (51) and Virat Kohli (26) put a 60-run stand for the second wicket, but Sean Williams (2/9) squeezed some momentum out of their innings. However, Suryakumar Yadav (61*) made sure things finished well for Men in Blue.
Opting to bat first, India was off to a shaky start. Skipper Rohit Sharma's poor run in the tournament continued as he was dismissed by pacer Blessing Muzarabani for 15 off 13 balls. India was 27/1 in 3.5 overs.
Star batter Virat was next up on the crease and he made his attacking intentions clear by whipping a half-volley to backward square leg for four on his first ball.
At the end of the powerplay in six overs, India was 46/1, with Virat (10*) and Rahul (20*) on the crease. India crossed the 50-run mark in 6.2 overs.
KL switched his gears, smashing Ryan Burl for a four and six in the eighth over that gave away 14 runs. Halfway into the innings, India was at 79/1, with Rahul (41*) supported well by Virat (22*).
The duo brought up their 50-run stand at just 35 balls. Virat struggled a bit in finding gaps as Zimbabwe's fielders were doing great. Sean Williams dismissed him for a decent 26 off 25 balls, leaving India at 87/2 in 11.5 overs.
KL Rahul continued his fine game, bringing up his half-century with a straight six, but Raza had the last laugh as he dismissed Rahul for 51 off 35 balls while he was going for a similar hit. India was 95/3 in 12.2 overs.
India touched the 100-run mark in 13.2 overs. Rishabh Pant was dismissed cheaply after Ryan Burl took a fantastic diving catch at wide long-on, giving Sean his second wicket of the match. India was 101/4 in 13.3 overs.
Hardik Pandya was the next batter to come on the crease. At the end of 15 overs, India was at 107/4, with Pandya (3*) and Suryakumar (5*). Zimbabwe had made a comeback in the game, having conceded only 28 runs in five overs and having taken three wickets.
The 16th over relieved India of some pressure as 18 runs came in it, thanks to two fours each from Suryakumar and Pandya. The next over also gave away 12 runs, giving Men in Blue 30 runs in space of 12 balls. The duo brought up their 50-run stand in 26 balls.
Richard Ngarava got his first wicket, dismissing Pandya for 18 off 27 balls and ending the 65 run-stand between the duo.
Suryakumar Yadav continued to dominate, bringing up his 12th fifty in the format in just 23 balls. India finished their innings at 186/5, with Suryakumar (61* off 25 balls with six fours and four sixes) and Axar Patel (0*).
Sean Williams (2/9) was the pick of the bowlers for Zimbabwe. Raza, Muzarbani and Ngarava took a wicket each.
Brief Scores: India 186/5: (Suryakumar Yadav 61*, KL Rahul 51, Sean Williams 2/9) vs Zimbabwe 115 (Ryan Burl 35, Sikandar Raza 34; Ravichandran Ashwin 3-22).
(With inputs from ANI)