India qualifies for the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup after beating Australia by 24 runs.

GROS ISLET, St Lucia — Captain Rohit Sharma struck 92 from 41 balls against a robust Australia to lead India into the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup with a stunning 24-run victory on Monday.

Sharma hit the fastest half-century of the tournament off 19 balls and finished with eight sixes and seven boundaries as India reached a high score of 205-5 after being put into bat.

Travis Head kept Australia in the race with 76 from 43 balls, but his teammates choked to spinners Kuldeep Yadav (2-24) and Axar Patel (1-21) to be restricted to 181-7.

India, undefeated in the group stage, closed the Super Eight with three wins from three matches and will face Group 2 runners-up England in the second semi-final on Thursday.

“It’s quite satisfying, especially playing like this,” Sharma said. “We don't want to do anything different (in the semi-final), we want to play the same way, understand what individuals should do in certain situations and play freely.”

South Africa, undefeated and top of Group 2 with three games out of three, will not know their semi-final opponents until Monday night's final Super Eight clash between Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Australia is eliminated if Afghanistan wins or if Bangladesh wins by a large margin.

Sharma set the tone when he smashed Mitchell Starc's second over for 29 runs with three sixes and two fours.

Virat Kohli was out for the second time in the tournament, caught at mid-wicket by Josh Hazlewood's short delivery. Kohli managed just 66 runs in six matches, but Sharma was only hampered by a five-minute rain delay.

“The 50s and 100s are good, I want to beat at the same pace and move on,” Sharma said. “You want to make the bowlers think about where the next shot is going to come from, and I think I did that.”

His 76 runs came from boundaries and sixes, and he became the first batsman to hit 200 sixes in T20 international matches. He also overtook Kohli (4.103) and Pakistan's Babar Azam (4.145) as the highest run-getter in the shortest format.

Sharma had already seen his first century of the tournament before being bowled by Yorker Starc in the 12th over.

But middle-order batsmen Suryakumar Yadav (31), Shivam Dube (28) and Hardik Pandya (27) helped India score the highest total against Australia in World Cup history men's T20.

Only Hazlewood (1-14) hit the ball in their four overs.

Australia lost David Warner in the first over to Arshdeep Singh (3-37), but leader and captain Mitchell Marsh (37) responded with a quick 81-run stand, the second wicket lasting eight overs.

Patel's brilliant one-handed catch removed Marsh, and Yadav beat Glenn Maxwell with a free-kick in the 20th over of the 14th over. Pandya smartly caught Marcus Stoinis.

After Head was deceived by Jasprit Bumrah's slower ball, Australia's challenge failed in the deadly overs.

“It’s disappointing,” Marsh said. “India beat us… we have seen for 15 years what Rohit Sharma can do in this kind of mood, and he has absolutely succeeded.”

Cheryl Tenny

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