World T20: Sensational Virat takes India to finale
Virat Kohli scripted one his best T20 innings, a classy 72 not-out under pressure that delivered a 6-wicket win for India over South Africa in a tense semi-final at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium on Friday.
South Africa's World T20 campaign was full of close finishes until now. With an intent to put up a strong total on the board, Faf du Plessis elected to bat first against an Indian side that feasted on chases. They quickly lost Quinton de Kock at the start, with Hashim Amla and du Plessis doing the reconstruction bit. R Ashwin then came up with a delivery that turned in from outside leg stump, leaving Amla in disbelief as he walked back just after getting into decent form.
However, du Plessis took charge and along with JP Duminy, carted the spinners all around. He brought up his fifty with a one-handed six in just 36 balls, before Ashwin struck with his trademark carrom ball to get rid of the Protea captain. Duminy, though, continued to attack even as AB de Villiers scored just 10 runs with no time to settle. David Miller then gave late impetus as South Africa collected 38 runs in the last three overs, posting a challenging total of 172/4.
Faced with a steep target, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane gave India the perfect start, looting 33 off the first three overs. Sharma departed soon after, but it only paved way for another Kohli masterclass. India had already gathered 56 runs in the Powerplay overs by then. Kohli added another 56 with Yuvraj Singh after losing Rahane, who had worked hard for his 32. Virat's half-century was timed to perfection, as Yuvraj kept the scoreboard ticking and rotated strike regularly at the other end.
What followed was the usual – Virat pacing the chase well within his control and finally getting India over the line with five balls to spare. South African had done all they could, but they couldn't stop the chase master from doing what he does so often. At the end, India walked away with yet another finals berth under MS Dhoni's captaincy. As for South Africa, their quest for a World Cup win continues.
An all-subcontinent grand finale awaits, as India take on Sri Lanka at Mirpur on April 6.
India 176 for 4 (Kohli 72*, Hendricks 2-31) beat South Africa172 for 4 (du Plessis 58*, Ashwin 3-22) by six wickets