Match report: Ind v SA – Match 24, WT20
Colombo, Oct 2: India's campaign at the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 came to an end after they could not restrict South Africa to under 122 – which would have seen them pip Pakistan on net run-rate and progress to the semi-finals. Though they beat South Africa by one run in the final Super Eights match of the competition, the margin wasn't enough to help their cause. South Africa meanwhile wind up their campaign at the tournament without winning a single game in the Super Eights.
Set to chase 153, South Africa lost the wickets of Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers early in their run-chase. But they were rescued by what seemed like a match-winning knock from Faf du Plessis. The 28-year-old, who was included in the XI in place of the out-of-form Richard Levi, hit six fours and two sixes apart from running plenty of ones and twos during his 38-ball 65. Just how good du Plessis' knock was can be established from the fact that the next best score in the South African innings was JP Duminy's 16.
Though he began sedately and scored only five runs of his first six deliveries, du Plessis made sure he made an impact as his innings progressed. He hit Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan for boundaries straight down the ground and used the slog sweep to good effect against the slower bowlers. He was dismissed in the 13th over when he charged Yuvraj Singh and attempted to hit over long-off; he ended up finding the man on the ropes.
India were still in with a chance after du Plessis was dismissed, and the outcome of the match could well have been different had R Ashwin not overstepped the delivery with which he dismissed Robin Peterson. At that point, South Africa were 109 for five in 15.3 overs. Though the momentum swung to and fro on several occasions thereafter, the Indian bowlers held their nerves and kept picking wickets.
South Africa needed 14 off the final over with two wickets in hand, but L Balaji – despite being hit for a six off his first ball – held his nerves to dismiss both the Morkel brothers to wind up the run-chase. South Africa were eventually bowled out for 151 with one ball remaining in their allotted twenty overs.
Zaheer Khan and Balaji picked up three wickets each, while Yuvraj Singh kept things tight in the middle overs and picked up two wickets. Ashwin and Irfan Pathan chipped in with a wicket each.
Earlier in the evening, India, who were put in to bat, lost Gautam Gambhir in the fourth over. The dismissals of the in-form Virat Kohli and Virender Sehwag in the next two overs put a lot of pressure on the untested middle order.
Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh added 32 runs in the next few overs to put the innings back on track. Yuvraj Singh in particular was timing the ball well and even hit two towering sixes and a boundary during his cameo, before he lost his stumps while attempting to work a full delivery from Morne Morkel to the leg side.
At the half-way mark, India had lost four wickets for 68 and were facing the possibility of not batting out their 20 overs. But Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina kept the South African bowlers in check for the next six overs and added 44 runs. After Sharma was dismissed in the 16th over, MS Dhoni walked out to bat, and in the company of Raina, gave the innings some much-needed momentum. The pair scored 40 runs in the final four overs, and MS Dhoni remained unbeaten on 23 off 13 balls. Suresh Raina, the top-scorer of the innings, was run-out of the last ball, for a well-compiled 45.
For South Africa, left-arm spinner Robin Peterson was the pick of the bowlers. Not only did he pick up the wickets of Sehwag and Sharma, he also conceded just 25 runs in his four overs. Morne Morkel (2/28) and Dale Steyn (1/26) were the other wicket-takers for SA.
Brief Scores: India 152/6 (Suresh Raina 45, Rohit Sharma 25, MS Dhoni 23*, Robin Peterson 2/25, Morne Morkel 2/28) beat South Africa 151 in 19.5 overs (Faf du Plessis 65, Zaheer Khan 3/22, L Balaji 3/37, Yuvraj Singh 2/23)
Man of the Match: Yuvraj Singh for his impressive all-round performance that saw him score 21 of 15 balls and pick up two crucial wickets.