London: Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh today applauded the Indian bowlers' performance in the do-or- die clash against South Africa, saying it was a perfect example of how not to give away cheap runs.
"It was a fantastic bowling effort from India. The pacers did a great job by bowling dot balls in the first 10 overs. It was the perfect example of how not to give away cheap runs. It surely must have made South Africa go on the back foot.
That effort went a long way in helping India dominate South Africa. "It was always going to be an easy chase for India, considering it had dismissed a world-class team for a paltry total of 191 runs.
This was a very commendable feat and special credit must go to the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, who was just fantastic. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the spinners also chipped in when it mattered," Harbhajan wrote in his column for the ICC's official website.
He also praised India's batting, rating it "a 10-on-10 performance". "Shikhar Dhawan just keeps getting better with every outing in this tournament. You can expect the likes of Virat Kohli to come and keep things steady right till the end, especially when the team is chasing."
Comparing the two captains -- Kohli and AB de Villiers, both of whom play for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL, Harbhajan said: "...you can tell how apart they are right from the manner in which they approach games. Kohli's intent has always been so positive. It shows when he steps on to the field.
On the other hand, you just don't see that from de Villiers. This is where Kohli beats him. "The team catches on to such vibes and that's what separates a winning team from the rest."
The 36-year-old spinner felt that it was a game in which the desire to win mattered a lot, and South Africa "simply did not turn up". "Its (South Africa's) approach and intent wasn't positive and that essentially played a very crucial role in the way it lost.
It needed to rise to the occasion and it just didn't do that," he said. "At the international level, the margin for error is always minimal, and South Africa did not play the big moments well.
Not only did its batting unit suffer a collective failure, but it also made silly mistakes, thereby, allowing India to control the game. Harbhajan was aghast to see the Proteas choke yet again. "You don't see three run-outs in an innings that often.
Dismissing de Villiers and David Miller with their brilliant fielding, Team India enjoyed a huge boost in confidence. "I did not expect South Africa, the world's top-ranked ODI side team, to choke yet again. I thought it had shed the choker tag, but I was clearly wrong. I just don't understand why it falls short of expectations at the global tournaments year after year," said Harbhajan.