Virat Kohli smashed his seventh half-century in Twenty20 Internationals © Getty Images
Virat Kohli smashed his seventh half-century in Twenty20 Internationals © Getty Images

 

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

 

Mirpur: Apr 4, 2014

 

After that glorious day at Johannesburg, it has taken India nearly seven years to move into a final. The Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium was witness to the Indian brigade trumping the South Africans by six wickets in the ICC World T20 2014 semi-final. South Africa won the toss and chose to bat, scoring 172. But, India waded through the pressure to move into their second T20 World Cup final.

 

India started their pursuit of 173 in positive style. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were attacking upfront and sped away to 39 in 3.5 overs. Some of the shots they played were delightful. Rohit carted Dale Steyn in his first over for a six over point. But, his breezy innings came to an end when he tried to loft Beuran Hendricks over mid-off.

 

Rahane was still fighting on, playing some attacking strokes. On one occasion, he made room and carted Wayne Parnell over covers for six. Meanwhile, Kohli was just getting his eye in, working the strike over. But, then Rahane was getting more impatient and although India were moving well at 77 for one in the 10th over. That impatience got the better of him when he mistimed one over mid-on and was caught.

 

That was when Virat Kohli took charge of the chase and started to attack. He placed the ball deftly and ran the singles and twos very well. Yuvraj Singh was mainly giving him strike to attack and he did charge at Duminy and Tahir. He got to his fifty in 35 balls when he pulled Tahir for six over mid-wicket. Yuvraj played a calm hand during his 18 and was dismissed with India needed 40 off four overs.

 

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India started off on a good note as Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed Quinton de Kock in the first over of the ICC World T20 2014 semi-final © Getty Images

 

Then came the over that turned the tide in India’s favour. Suresh Raina came in and helped a short ball from Wayne Parnell into the stands over fine-leg. He then made room and guided a four over third-man and then got the inside edge down the leg-side. With that over going for 17 runs, India needed only 23 off the last three. Although South Africa kept Steyn for the death, the move did not work. Until his fifty, Kohli had scored only 16 runs in boundaries. That showed how well he farmed the strike and yet kept the scoreboard going.

 

Earlier in the day, India had a change in their strategy as they didn’t open their bowling with their spinners. Instead Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma started off things and had mixed fortunes early on. Bhuvneshwar did get Quinton de Kock early on when he inside edged one to MS Dhoni after a lucky break early on. Mohit was on the money in his first over, but was then attacked by Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis.

 

It was only in the sixth over that Ravichandran Ashwin was introduced and he struck with his second ball when he got through Hashim Amla with one that turned away. It was then that India introduced the other spinners and by the half-way stage, South Africa had reached 66 for two. Amit Mishra came in thereafter.

 

But, Mishra was carted in his spell as his three overs went for 36. Du Plessis was in awesome form. He was going to the pitch of the ball and lofting with ease. Even Suresh Raina was not spared as MS Dhoni continued to keep them in play. Although Ashwin returned to dismiss du Plessis for 59, JP Duminy stayed through till the end and in the company of David Miller, he took South Africa to 169.

 

Brief scores:

 

South Africa 172 for 4 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 58, JP Duminy 45,* David Miller 23*; Ravichandran Ashwin 3 for 22) lost to India 176 for 4 in 19.1 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 32, Virat Kohli 72*; Beuran Hendricks 2 for 31) by 6 wickets.

 

Man of the Match: Virat Kohli

 

Full Scorecard

 

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ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)