India 193/2 (Shikhar Dhawan 78, Virat Kohli 76*) beat South Africa 191 All Out (Quinton de Kock 53, Faf du Plessis 36, Hasim Amla 35, Bhuvaneswar Kumar 2/23, Jasprit Bumrah 2/28) by 8 wickets.
After one match reverse against Sri Lanka Indian cricket might be on plentiful display yesterday when they routed a lopsided South Africa by 8 wickets. India set a date with Bangladesh for a semifinal with Bengal tigers at Edgbaston, Birmingham. We do not anticipate any other situation where Pakistan or Sri Lanka can win by a bigger margin today to offset India from the top of the group.
Batting first South Africa managed to score 191 in their innings which not even barely enough against Indian batting might. India cruised home losing Rohit and Dhawan. The two favorites in group B were expected to qualify for a business session of the tournament. As such a mouthwatering contest was expected when they met. But a very well drilled Indian all round performance made the affair thoroughly one-sided. South Africa did not appear to have recovered from the shock they absorbed from the bottom ranked of the tournament Pakistan. On the other hand, India bounced back from the surprising defeat in their previous match against Sri Lanka. The bowling team was set on the basis of horses for the courses. The inclusion of Bumrah and Ashwin did the tricks. The free flowing Protean stroke makers were made to grind and graft dealing with a very accurate attack. They were forced to take risks. The two run outs at a critical time did the damage. 191 in such a match was not anything to challenge the might of Indian batting strength. It was a cakewalk for India.
India South Africa was in the same situation in ICC World Cup quarter-finals. Wonder how history repeats. The situation created in the tournament also made the yesterday’s match a virtual quarter-final. Faf du Plessis yesterday and in that match scored 36. On both occasions, he was primarily responsible for getting dangerous looking AB de Villiers run out. He also saw David Miller run out soon afterward. These two unfortunate run outs at crucial stages of the match put paid to Protean endeavor setting up a challenging target even after a reasonable platform of 76 by 18th over created by Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock. Even when de Kock was out after scoring 53 bowled neck & crop by Jadeja South Africa was very much in the game. Du Plessis was well in and AB de Villiers was looking good. But two silly run outs in very unprofessional manners brought India back. The unfortunate loss of de Villiers and David Miller struck deadly blows to the Protean cause from where they did not recover. Last six wickets could add only 49 runs. South Africa got all out for 191 runs in 44.3 overs. Kumar and Bumrah got 2 wickets each. The innings had three run outs. Fortunately, the weather held and India found it very comfortable overhauling the target losing Rohit and Dhawan in the process. Inform Dhawan scored 78 while Captain Kohli remained unbeaten on 76. India won huge and handsome by 8 wickets.
We believe the inclusion of Bumrah in place of Yadav was a right move. In 8 tight overs, he took 2 wickets giving away only 28 runs. He combined well with another inform pacer B Kumar taking 2for 23 in 7.3 overs.
This win confirmed Indian berth in the semifinal. Whether or not they finish on top would be known only after today’s encounter between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is highly unlikely that winning team can win by a greater margin to offset India from the top of the group. India will in possibility play their neighbor Bangladesh in the Semifinal
In a global tournament for the first time, there will be three teams from Asian continent appearing in semifinals alongside crickets mother country England. Bangladesh and India are already there. It will be either Sri Lanka or Pakistan joining the three. Asian teams appearing in business session of a global tournament of cricket adds color, fun, and entertainment.
Few are predicting England-India final. But never rule out the possibility of reverse as well. Who knows whether Bangladesh and Sri Lanka won’t appear in the final . Two hot favorites Australia and South Africa are already gone. Few expected Bangladesh to qualify from the group of death. But playing wonderful cricket they did. Pakistan and Sri Lanka both won the global tournament in the past. Cricket is a funny game where morning does not necessarily show the day.
Image: The Indian Express
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