India beat SA, bow out of World Twenty20
India beat South Africa by 1 run in a tense thriller at Colombo on Tuesday night but lost out a semi final slot to Pakistan on NRR.
Pakistan’s 32 run win against Australia earlier in the day meant India had to beat South Africa by 31 runs or more after being put in to bat first. On a pitch where Pakistan’s army of spinners tied down Australia impressively, India decided to go in with 3 pacers and just 1 specialist spinner, counting on Yuvraj Singh to do the 5th bowler’s duties.
Poor batting by the top order saw India slide to 36/3 in the 6th over with Gautam Gambhir (8), Virender Sehwag (17) and Kohli (2) all back in the pavilion. Partnerships between Yuvraj (21), Rohit (25), Raina (45) and Dhoni (23*) helped India post a competitive 152/6, just higher than the 149/6 Pakistan had posted earlier in the day.
Zaheer Khan dismissed Hashim Amla off the second ball of the chase before Pathan (1/26) had Kallis (6) in the third over, bringing SA down to 16/2. The introduction of Yuvraj (2/23) into the attack saw AB de Villiers (13) depart but Faf du Plessis played anchor for SA with his 65 (38b 4x6, 6x2). Ashwin was bafflingly held back till the 10th over and then only given a 1 over spell.
With the 121 run mark in sight, Yuvraj broke a 49 run partnership between du Plessis and Duminy (16) and Balaji returned to dismiss the latter, setting SA at 107/5. Ashwin then had Peterson caught off a no ball and bowled him in the ensuing free hit but SA still comfortably crossed 121 to seal India’s exit from the tournament.
The required rate growing SA had to go for their shots and perished in a heap trying to do so. Zaheer (3/22) struck twice in the 18th over and Ashwin (1/27) once in the 19th leaving SA to get 14 off the last over. Balaji (3/37) conceded a six to each Morkel brother - Albie and Morne but also bowled them next ball to bowl SA out for 151, sealing a 1 run consolation for India.
India won 4 of their 5 games in the tournament with Virat Kohli leading the run getters list for them with 185 runs at an average of 46.25. L Balaji led the wickets tally with 9, Yuvraj on a close second with 8.
Sri Lanka will play Pakistan in the first semi final on Thursday while Australia play West Indies in the second semi final on Friday.