India suffered their third consecutive defeat in the Super 8 round of the Men’s T20 World Cup competition, after they lost by 12-runs to South Africa. It was a disastrous campaign for the Men in Blue, as they could not win a single match in the second phase of the tournament. The defending champions India looked out of sorts throughout the tournament, and matches against minnows Ireland and Bangladesh did not help their cause towards gearing up for the next round. The IPL fatigue for the Indian players might have also been the reason that forced the players to come up with this kind of lackluster performance.
The South African batting got of to a sedate start before RP Singh got the better of Gibbs. This did not stop AB de Villiers from piling up the runs as he looked in supreme control throughout his innings. South African’s were looking to post a challenging total, when Indian captain MS Dhoni introduced spin into the attack. The Indian spinners especially Jadeja bowled magnificently on a slow spinning track to restrict the South Africans to a low total.
The main contributions for South Africa came from AB de Villiers, who scored 63 runs and Graeme Smith, who scored 26 runs. The rest of the South African batting line up looked fragile on the slow turning wicket. Albie Morkel, hit two boundaries in the final over as South Africa posted a score of 130, a challenging one on this slow turning track.
The Indians started the run chase in a confident manner as both Gambhir and Sharma took charge of the innings and hammered the South African pacers to all parts of the ground. India was well placed at 47 runs without the loss of any wicket after the fifth over of the innings. Things were looking in control and Indian fans expecting their team to win comfortably. However, this was short lived as South Africa introduced spin in the sixth over itself. Johan Botha then got the better of Gambhir to open up the Indian batting lineup. Botha struck a further blow to India as he removed Raina, and Duminy completed the assault by getting rid of Sharma in quick succession.
The Indian innings headed for a disaster with the dismissals of Dhoni and Pathan, as the South African spinners started to outclass the Indian batsman. The only resistance was provided by Yuvraj Singh as he scored 24 runs to keep the Indian hopes alive in the match. However, India was left to do too much in the end as they lost by 12 runs to the Proteas. The only other notable contributions were from the openers Gambhir, who scored 21 runs and Sharma, who scored 29 runs. The otherwise shaky Indian batting line up lived up to its reputation once again as they went down tamely to the South Africans. The best bowler for South Africa was J Botha as he picked up three crucial Indian wickets to turn the match in South Africa’s favor.
With this win, the Proteas remain unbeaten in the tournament. They would now be hoping to take their tally to six consecutive victories, when they take on the in form Pakistan in the First Semi Final clash. Pakistan, last year’s losing finalist will not spare an inch as they look to head for an interesting battle against South Africa.
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