India and South Africa produced a great exhibition of T20 cricket © Getty Images
Another knockout match in a World Cup and another disappointment for South Africa. But this time around there was no reason to call it a ‘choke’. They were completely outclassed by Virat Kohli, for whom it was another day to thrive in a run-chase. Abhijit Banare looks at the highlights of the semi-final between India and South Africa in the ICC World T20 2014.
Ball of the century
Hashim Amla was bamboozled by what was an almost unplayable delivery © Getty Images
Even Ravichandran Ashwin admitted that he would not know how to bowl that delivery again. Ever since the Asia Cup, Ashwin has become more of a leg-spinner than the off-spinner. His carrom ball is something the batsmen are starting to get more and more familiar with. Despite that, the ball that got out Hashim Amla was exceptional. In the limited overs format, Amla tries to shuffle across a lot. The first delivery was a carrom ball as well, but it was too far outside the leg stump and turned only little, thereby ending as a wide. Seeing Ashwin bowling round the wicket, Amla had decided to shuffle across and work him away on the leg-side. The ball turned enough to beat the wristy push of Amla and crashed in to the stumps. A class delivery to get a class batsman out.
It’s the Faf du Plessis show
Faf du Plessis (left) along with JP Duminy built the strong South African total © Getty Images
After losing two quick wickets, South Africa could have slipped further. Instead, some brilliant strokes from skipper Faf du Plessis only made things difficult for the Indian spinners. By consistently using his feet to unsettle the bowlers, Du Plessis picked runs at ease against the likes of Amit Mishra. Along with JP Duminy, he had scripted a potential match-winning partnership. His half-century only made the low score of AB de Villiers less relevant.
Rohit-Rahane, the new partnership
Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma gave a new dimension to India’s opening combination © Getty Images
It was high time Ajinkya Rahane made good use of the opportunities he was getting. Securing another chance ahead of Shikhar Dhawan, the Mumbai batsman emulated the role which he played for Rajasthan Royals to perfection. By giving the steady starts with crisp shots without much element of risk, Rahane played an anchor’s role in the chase. This new partnership has altered the strategy where Rohit Sharma tries to go after the bowlers while Rahane keeps the other end in control. Chasing 173, Rahane did well to give a brisk start which was complemented well by Rohit’s big hits. By the time Rohit departed, India had already knocked off 39 runs.
South Africa’s strategical blunders
Skipper du Plessis will go back as a much more experienced captain after that loss. He missed some vital tricks right from the start of India‘s chase which proved costly. India’s fascination for hammering off-spinners allowed them to take on Duminy and then Albie Morkel‘s pace only allowed the openers to pluck the much needed momentum. It was only in the third over that Dale Steyn came but didn’t get another chance to build some pressure on Rohit, a batsman who has struggled against Steyn. Even while Virat Kohli was marching ahead, Du Plessis held back Steyn for too long. Six bowlers in first seven overs only highlighted the tentative mindset of the Protea skipper.
Virat Kohli love for run-chase
Virat Kohli churned out another chasing masterclass to make a cakewalk of the competitive South African total © Getty Images
Statistical records pertaining to run chases may soon become irrelevant as Virat Kohli is busy creating new ones every time he comes out to bat. South Africa had never lost a T20I scoring 170 plus. In other words, Kohli got an opportunity to create a new record. It was Rahane’s brisk batting which allowed Kohli to get his eye in. And by the time he was settled, the beautiful flicks, drives and pulls were starting to take the match away from the South Africans. Kohli now averages an astonishing 82.66 in run-chases in T20s. And the record is only going to get better every time he is going to chase big scores. Even England women’s team cricketer Daniel Wyatt was bowled over by Kohli’s batting and tweeted him to marry her.
The 17th over which sealed the match for India
India still needed 40 from 24 balls and things could have changed course if the South Africans had brought back Steyn, it could have provided a window of opportunity. A nervous Wayne Parnell was hit for a six by Suresh Raina with a short arm jab. The boundary off the outside edge on the next ball was going to offer him more encouragement to go for wild swings. Even the fifth delivery flew past the keeper of an inside edge. A six and two boundaries helped them earn 17 runs. From thereon, the target looked like a cakewalk.
ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)