Champions Trophy 2017 | All-round India book semi-final date with neighbours Bangladesh

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Champions Trophy 2017 | All-round India book semi-final date with neighbours Bangladesh

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SportsCafe Desk


Riding on a superb bowling performance, coupled with half-centuries from Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan, India secure a 8-wicket victory over South Africa to enter the semi-finals of the CT to keep their title defence hopes alive. With the defeat, though, SA have been knocked out of the competition.

Brief Scores: South Africa 191/10 (Quinton de Kock 53, Faf du Plessis 36; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/23, Jasprit Bumrah 2/28) lost to India 193/2 (Shikhar Dhawan 78, Virat Kohli 76; Imran Tahir 1/37) by 8 wickets. 

In the first virtual quarter-final of Group B, India won the toss and put the South Africans to bat first. Both teams made one change apiece to their lineups with R Ashwin making a comeback replacing Umesh Yadav for India, while Andile Phehlukwayo came in for Wayne Parnell for South Africa.

Indian pacers stifle South African openers

Virat Kohli opted to let Jasprit Bumrah start proceedings, in the absence of Umesh Yadav, along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the duo used the pitch conditions well restricting the Proteas to 35/0. R Ashwin and Hardik Pandya came in as the bowling changes for the defending champions at a time when Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock were looking to up the run rate. Pandya bore the brunt of it, when he was hit for a six and a boundary by Amla in the same over. However, his bowling partner exacted revenge for him by getting the ball to turn just enough for Amla to nick the ball into the hands of MS Dhoni in the 18th over. Amla’s job had been done as the top-ranked team managed to consolidate their position by putting up 94 runs in 20 overs. But the recovery did not last long as de Kock was dismissed soon after his half century to bring du Plessis to the crease and leave the Proteas at an uncomfortable position of 119/2.

Horrendous running puts South Africa in trouble

Having failed to impress in the Champions Trophy thus far, AB de Villiers came out and started playing his shots with the confidence worthy of the world’s top-ranked ODI batsman. The two legends of South African cricket started scoring quickly as the run rate crept close to 5 rpo. However, “the perennial chokers” tag that has been associated with South Africa showed its ugly head again as they lost AB de Villiers and David Miller to hilarious run outs in the space of six balls. JP Duminy and du Plessis tried to exert some control on the innings by focusing on rotating the strike, but again the partnership did not last long, as 15 runs later the latter was cleaned up by Pandya with the scoreboard reading 157/5. Chris Morris’ stay at the crease was short too when he top-edged a ball straight into the hands of Bhuvneshwar at deep square leg. With the score at 178/6, Kohli smelled blood and brought on his strike bowlers back into the attack. The gamble paid off as Phehlukwayo was caught plumb in front of his stumps by Bumrah before Bhuvneshwar dismissed Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel on consecutive deliveries to put India in complete control. There was still time for South Africa to provide some more humour as Imran Tahir was involved in yet another run out to end the South African innings at a paltry score of 191.

Kohli, Dhawan give India a perfect start

Indian openers, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, began the chase on a good note as the team managed to score 23 runs in the first five overs. But the nagging line kept by the South African pacers, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel, reaped early dividends as Rohit became Morkel’s first victim, edging the ball to de Kock for 12. But it changed after Virat Kohli, who after a sedate start, began to rotate the strike well to give Dhawan the chance to take the onus of big hitting. Kohli got a life when he was batting on 21, when Hashim Amla spilled a chance at the first slip. It was an error that the Proteas would rue, as the Indian captain found his groove, much to the dismay of the South Africans. Despite the early wobbles, India raced to 100 in the 22nd over and found themselves at 118/1 at the midway point of the run chase. 

India storm into the semi-finals with an eight-wicket win

Needing 74 runs to book a place in the semi-final of the tournament, the duo pressed on the accelerator and milked 30 runs in the next four overs, but against the run of play, Dhawan missed out on his hundred when he attempted slog on an Imran Tahir googly ended up in the hands of du Plessis at long-off. But Kohli, partnering Yuvraj Singh, kept finding the boundaries. With a monstrous hit over mid-wicket, Yuvraj finished the game off in style to lead India to the semi-finals of the tournament where they will meet Bangladesh in a bid to secure a place in their second consecutive final.   

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