London: India completed a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over South Africa in their last Group B game, at The Oval, in London, on Sunday.
The match that was billed as a virtual quarterfinal, saw India waltz past the finish line with ease, as their bowlers and batsmen enjoyed a good run out on the pitch after a disappointing performance against Sri Lanka.
India have put South Africa in the bat first after winning the toss, and restricted the Proteas from scoring quickly in the opening exchanges. It took them more than 17 overs to get their first wicket (Hashim Amla). However, once the first wicket fell, South Africa’s flood gates opened up.
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichan Ashwin bowled in tandem for the first time, and wreacked havock among the South African batters. Jadeja removed the dangerous-looking Quinton de Kock, while Ashwin got the Amla for the first breakthrough.
South Africa exhibited some poor running between the wicket, as AB De Villiers, David Miller, and last man Imran Tahir all fell short of their crease in front of a sharp-looking Indian fielding unit.
With half the batting order gone, Kohli introduced Bumrah into the attack, and the young paceman, along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar finished off the Proteas innings fro a lowly 191.
A low target like 191 was hardly ever going to threaten India, and the two openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan came out all guns blazing. Rohit though, perished quickly, looking to slash hard at a Morne Morkel delivery.
Although this was the early wicket that South Africa were looking for, it sent Virat Kohli to the crease.
The India skipper went on to steady the ship after the early departure of Rohit. Both Dhawan and Kohli notched up their half centuries, to take India to safer waters. Although Dhawan was dismissed towards the end, with 41 runs remaining, it was too little, too late for South Africa, as Kohli and Yuvraj Singh steered India home.
South Africa: 191 all out from 44.3 overs (Quinton de Kock: 53, Faf du Plessis: 36; Bhuvneshwar Kumar: 2-23)
India: 193-2 from 38 overs (Shikhar Dhawan: 78, Virat Kohli: 76*).
India defeat South Africa by 8 wickets.
India: 193-2 from 38 overs
That the end of that! Yuvraj Singh decides to finish it off in style, as he clobbers a short delivery by JP Duminy into the stands. That is the shot that puts India in the semifinals against Bangladesh.
India: 151-2 from 30.1 overs
WICKET! Dhawan dances down the track against Tahir, but the wily South African tweaker sent in the googly, as the southpaw edges it high on the off side. Faf du Plessis did well to take a catch while running in from long-off.
India: 150-1 from 30 overs
Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have exhibited some fine batting here. They have shown a lot of patience on a slowish wicket, and gone about their business without taking much risks. They’ve realised the importance of not giving South Africa a sniff, and have steered Team India to safe waters.
FIFTY! Virat Kohli has taken the cautious approach to his innings. However, he has dispatched the poor deliveries to the periphery of The Oval, here. He has been instrumental in stabilising the Indian innings after Rohit sharma’s wicket. He brings up his 41st half century by prodding it past point for a single. Remarkably, he seemed to have been looking for two runs there. However, that was never on.
India: 118-1 from 25 overs
India are cruising at this point. They have little worries, as they require 74 runs to win from 25 overs. One would even forgive them for having half their mind on the possible semifinal against neighbours Bangladesh.
FIFTY! Shikhar Dhawan has done well to stick at the crease with his captain here. The India are scoring slowly, but the asking rate is too low for that to matter. Dhawan has punished whatever bad delivery that came his way, and has looked in good touch. He punches the ball down the ground for a lofted four to bring up his 50.
India: 90-1 from 20 overs
India have certainly found their foot after the early wicket. Although the South Africa bowlers have not done much wrong, they have too low a total on board, to put any real pressure on the Indians.
DROPPED! For once, Virat Kohli goes fishing outside the off stump and gets a thick outside edge. The ball flies towards Hashim Amla at second slip in a low trajectory. However, even at full stretch, Amla could not latch on to the ball.
India: 65-1 from 15 overs
Its been slow going for India so far. However, the main thing for Virat Kohli and co right now is that they have wickets in hand. Once the field opens up after the powerplay, they will have ample opportunities to score. Despite the slow going, Kohli seems to have found his touch, and is finding boundaries every over.
India: 37-1 from 10 overs
The wicket has not had much effect on the batsmen. After a brief lull, Dhawan carries on the big hitting, to dispatch Morne Morkel for two consecutive boundaries. This seems to have pressurised Morkel, who oversteps, handing Dhawan a free hit. He hurls it in full and wide, and Dhawan slashes hard. However he could not connect with it properly, resulting in just 2 runs.
India: 23-1 from 5.3 overs
WICKET! This is exactly what South Africa would have been hoping for. Rohit Sharma goes fishing outside the off-stump, and edges it to De Kock behind the wicket.
India: 23-0 from 5 overs
Great start by India! Dhawan and Rohit have found the boundaries at regular intervals. The South Africans have been trying to attack them, but that is leaving gaps for the Indian opening duo to exploit.
"Great performance, especially against SA, who score even off good deliveries. Team depends on me to take early wickets. Trying to bowl cross-seam to get something off the wicket," says Bhyvneshwar Kumar, who ended with brilliant figures of 2-23.
The South African innings has completely melted away in the middle overs. 192 is an extremely low target on any pitch. While it does seem to be on the slowish side, SA's total may not be enough to keep them in the competition.
SA: 191 all out from 44.3 overs
WICKET! Confusion all around yet again. Duminy plays it onto the leg side, but is not sure if he wanted to run it. Despite the fact that the ball slipped out of Kohli's hands, the two batters hesitated a couple of times in the middle of the pitch. The soon ran out of time, as Kohli finally hurled it in to former skipper MS Dhoni, who whips off the bails long before Tahir reached his mark.
Imran Tahir negotiates the hat-trick ball well, as he runs it down to third man, for a single.
SA: 184-9 from 42.3 overs
WICKET! Brilliant bowling by Bhuvi. He's on a hat-trick now, as Morkel edges it to Kohli in the slip cordon.
SA: 184-8 from 42.2 overs
WICKET! Another one bites the dust. Rabada edges an out-swinger straight into the gloves of MS Dhoni. India are definitely looking like favourites here.
SA: 178-7 from 40.1 overs
WICKET! The yorker expert does it again! His inch-perfect yorker strikes Phehlukwayo on the pads, as Team India go up in appeal in unison. Although the umpire gave not out, the Sout African was given out after a DRS referral.
SA: 178-6 from 40 overs
South Africa are well and truly struggling now. Virat Kohli has done well to keep the pressure on the Proteas. He has even preserved a couple of overs from Ashwin, for the death overs.
SA: 167-6 from 36 overs
WICKET! Bumrah strikes! He fires in a short delivery into Miller's ribs, as the batter attempts to pull it to the leg side. However, he only managed to edge it high into the, as Bhuvneshwar Kumar took a straight forward catch in the circle.
SA: 162-5 from 35 overs
India have seriously tightened the screws on South Africa now. They have improved their middle-overs bowling manifold. South Africa are struggling to get their scoreboard ticking now.
SA: 157-5 from 33.3 overs
WICKET! The Proteas are falling like a pack of cards here. Pandya offers Faf du Plessis a little room, but he got a thick inside edge, sending the ball crashing into the stumps. That certainly has put the South Africans in a fix.
SA: 142-4 from 29.3 overs
WICKET! What is going on out there? Both Miller and du Plessis ended up at the same crease, while Virat Kohli comfortably whipped off the bails at the other end. There was a brief pause, as the umpires tried to figure out which batsman got to his crease first. Faf du Plessis gets the benefit of the doubt.
SA: 140-2 from 28.2 overs
WICKET! Du Plessis tried to steal a quick single off Jadeja's delivery, but Hardik Pandya was alert in the field, and sent in a good throw at Dhoni. Dhoni is not a man who would pass-up an opportunity like this. He whips off the bails in a flash. AB was miles off his mark.
SA: 116-2 from 24.2 overs
WICKET! But he doesn't last long. Ravindra Jadeja seems to have left his demons from the last game behind. After making a brilliant diving save at point in the last over, Jadeja comes back to trap de Kock.He first fired one into de Kock's pads, as the South African played it onto his pads, while attempting to sweep. The very next delivery Jadeja changes the line. De Kock goes for a slog sweep again, this time at a ball that was pitched outside off. However, he completely missed the ball, which went on to crash into the stumps.
FIFTY! Quinton de Kock continues his good record against India. He steers the ball onto the off side, to bring up the 14th half century of his ODI career.
SA: 94-1 from 20 overs
Amla’s wicket has not really slowed down SA’s scoring rate. If anything, new batsman Faf du Plessis has started ticking the scoreboard along at a steady pace than what they were doing before.
SA: 76-1 from 17.3 overs
WICKET! Smart Bowling from Ashwin. He was driven on the half volley a couple of times by Amla. However, he sent a wrong one, changing the pace up, as Amla edges it straight into Dhoni's gloves.
SA: 62-0 from 15 overs
Hashim Amla has played a quiet knock so far, but he punished Pandya, the moment he strayed onto the South African's pads. Deliciously plays a lofted flick for a six on the leg side.
DROPPED! Amla lobs one straight back to Pandya, but the paceman was still in his follow-through of the run-up, and was not able to latch on to it.
SA: 35-0 from 10 overs
Some tight bowling from both Bhuvi and Bumrah. They have not given de Kock and Amla much room to work with. Kohli brought talismanic spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in to bowl the 10th over. The Chennai tweaker gave away only two runs from that over.
SA: 21-0 from 5 overs
South Africa have maintained a decent run rate in the first few overs. De Kock hit the first couple of boundaries for SA, one off Bumrah, and the other off Bhuvneshwar, to keep the South African scoreboard ticking in the opening exchanges.
SA: 3-0 from 1 over
A solid start for both the sides. Its good cricket all around. Amla plays a few solid defensive shots against a seaming Bhuvneshwar. The Indian paceman also managed to get an outside edge, but it whizzed off past second slip in a low trajectory, as Amla keeps strike with a single.
Bhuvi starts off with a wide. Was there a hint of swing there?
The national anthems are done, and the teams are ready to roll. Virat Kohli gathers his charges into a huddle, as Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla walk out to bat. De Kock to take strike. Bhuvneshwar Kumar to get the proceedings underway with the ball.
Preview: Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bowl first against South Africa in a do-or-die encounter at the Kennington Oval in London on Sunday.
— ICC (@ICC) June 11, 2017
India, who lost their previous game against Sri Lanka, have made a change in the playing XI as R Ashwin comes in place of Umesh Yadav. South Africa, meanwhile, have brought in Andile Phehlukwayo in place of Wayne Parnell.
"Teams generally like chasing, gives us a chance to do what we need to do when we come out to bat. Depends on what the bowlers offer us. When you bat second, you know what you need to do. One change, Ashwin comes in for Umesh, keeping in mind they have three left-handers," said Kohli while justifying his decision to bowl first and fielding Ashwin in place of Umesh Yadav.
AB de Villiers, who did not look too unhappy after being to put in to bat, said: “Probably not a bad thing to bowl first, but happy to bat. Excited to get a score. We seen some good scoring here, upto our batters to communicate really well to understand what is a good score. One change, Andile Phehlukwayo comes in for Wayne Parnell."
Eyeing to seal a place in the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and defend the title it won four years ago under MS Dhoni, the Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team will take on South Africa in a must-win encounter at the Kennington Oval in London on Sunday.
While India and South Africa were tipped to be two teams to qualify for the final four, defeats against Sri Lanka and Pakistan (respectively) have dashed all those predictions. The defeats have left both the teams in a place where they will have to knock out each other to join Bangladesh and England in the semifinals.
Although the permutation and combination can still see Team India and Proteas make it to the final four, the weather will have to come into play washing out the final two games in Group B – India vs South Africa on Sunday and Pakistan vs Sri Lanka on Monday.
While neither India nor South Africa can do much about the result of the Pakistan versus Sri Lanka game, they will be keen to do what’s in their hands – win their final game in the group stage.
While Indian bowling was tipped to threaten the opposition, it is India’s batting that had taken all the cake with all the top batsmen – Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh – have scored at least a fifty during the games against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
And like the Indian cricket team fans, Kohli will want his batting to fire one more time in a crunch game of this magnitude. But what Kohli will want even more is his bowlers brushing aside the poor show against Sri Lanka and turn up against the powerful South African batting line-up consisting of Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, David Miller and their captain AB de Villiers. With three quality left-hand batsmen in South Africa's batting line-up, R Ashwin, who did not feature in the playing XI against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, may get a look in.
South Africa, meanwhile, will need the victory not just to keep alive their hopes of winning their second ICC trophy but also to shed the “chokers” tag that has hounded them for a long time. Hence, the bowling unit of Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell and Imran Tahir will have to put up their hands and come up with a match-winning show.
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik.
South Africa: AB de Villiers (Captain), Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Jean-Paul Duminy, Farhaan Behardien, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Hashim Amla, Keshav Maharaj, Dwaine Pretorius, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo....