World T20: A remarkable team effort by India

After bowlers won them matches in group stages, batters came to the party yesterday

India had not conceded more than 138 runs in an innings in the tournament so far, their spinners had got more than four wickets in every game, and Amit Mishra had hardly put a foot wrong in the event. All that changed yesterday, but the end result didn’t. When one has Virat Kohli batting at No 3, any total becomes chaseable, and so did South Africa’s 172.

India’s players celebrate the dismissal of South Africa’s Quinton de Kock in their semi-final encounter in Dhaka yesterday. Pic/AP/PTI.

The Master of Chases scored an unbeaten 72 off just 44 balls as India made it to a T20 World Cup final for the second time. If it was the bowlers, who won the games for India in the league stage, then now it was the turn of the batsmen, as every single one of them contributed to the team’s cause.

Big start
Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis gave South Africa a good start after Quinton de Kock was dismissed in the first over. As a result, they scored 44 runs in the Power-play overs — the most India has conceded in this tournament.

Spinners pull things back
R Ashwin bowled an absolute stunner to get rid of Amla with a carom ball that pitched on leg and knocked back the off stump. Ravindra Jadeja bowled two tight overs from the other end, and India gained some control over the Proteas with the scoreboard reading 66 for 2 after 10.

Big hitting
However, it all changed from thereon, as Du Plessis and JP Duminy blasted 61 runs off the next five overs. India’s hero of the tournament this far, Amit Mishra had an off day, giving away 36 runs in three overs. He tried to bowl too quick, and finished without any wicket. Ashwin dismissed Du Plessis and AB de Villiers in back to back overs, but David Miller joined Duminy to take South Africa past 170.

Cracking start
India began the steep chase by scoring 14 runs off the first over bowled by Duminy. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane kept finding fours at regular intervals as India raced to 56 for 1 in the Power-play overs.

Loss of momentum
Rahane lost a bit of momentum after the Power-play overs though, as India couldn’t find the boundary in the next four overs. Rahane got out in search of the big hit, bringing in Yuvraj Singh and a few more dot balls.

Outstanding Kohli
Kohli broke the shackles by smashing Duminy for a six, and raced to his 50 from just 35 balls without taking risks.

Decisive blow
The 17th over bowled by Wayne Parnell turned the game decisively in India’s favour as Suresh Raina hammered him for 16 runs, including a six and two fours. Even the great Dale Steyn couldn’t keep the Proteas in the game hereafter as India crossed the finish line with five balls to spare. Kohli-Raina’s 34-run stand off 15 balls ended the game as a contest.

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