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WT20: Kohli powers India to victory over South Africa and into final

Virat Kohli once again rose to the occasion inspiring India to resounding six-wicket win over South Africa as the former champions set up a World Twenty20 final with Sri Lanka

Dhaka: Cometh the hour, Cometh the man. India rode on some brilliant batting by Virat Kohli to overcome South Africa by 6 wickets and enter the final of the ICC World Twenty20

Chasing 173 to win, India were led by a swashbuckling knock of 72 not out by Virat Kohli as they strolled to the tagret with five balls to spare.

This becomes India's second final in five World Twenty20s after they won the inaugural event held in South Africa in 2007.

Interestingly, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni deliberately played a dot ball to ensure that the day's hero get a chance to score the winning stroke off Dale Steyn.

Virat KohliVirat Kohli plays a shot during the India vs South Africa ICC World Twenty20 semi-final match at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on Friday. Pic/AFP

The reigning ODI world champion will lock horns with Sri Lanka in the title clash on Sunday.

South Africa, regarded as perennial chokers in crucial matches, yet again failed to reach any world level final since their readmission into cricket in 1991.

Dhoni, who will lead India to a triple crown if his team win the final with the 2011 World Cup (50 overs) and 2013 Champions Trophy in the bag, praised the run chase.

"Everybody saw that the wicket was better than those we have played on, and they believed they could chase this down. It is not just the self-belief, but the belief in each other that is crucial," said Dhoni, praising Kohli.

"There are not many who are as consistent as Virat. It is great to have him at number three," said Dhoni of Kohli who played just three dot balls in his innings.

South African captain Faf du Plessis was also all praise for India and Kohli.

"We put up a good total but the bad thing is, MS and his team know how to chase," said Du Plessis. "They have done it many times and Virat played a great innings."

Kohli smashed five boundaries and two sixes off 44 balls in a brilliant display of batting, highlighting India's strength at chasing a target.

He hit paceman Dale Steyn for a boundary to seal the win much to the jubiliation of a packed Shere Bangla stadium.

Kohli and other Indian batsmen blunted South Africa's best bowlers, leg-spinner Imran Tahir -- joint highest wicket-taker so far in the tournament with 12 -- and paceman Steyn with authority.

Tahir managed just one wicket for 30 runs in his four overs while Steyn went for 36 in 3.1 overs.

Kohli brought up his seventh T20 fifty with a huge six off Tahir and despite the loss off Yuvraj Singh (18) and Suresh Raina (21) kept the run-chase smooth.

Rohit Sharma made a 13-ball 24 with a six and four boundaries and Ajinkya Rahane scored 32 off 30 balls.

Earlier, skipper Faf du Plessis struck an attractive half-century to guide South Africa to 172-4.

Du Plessis scored 41-ball 58 for his fifth Twenty20 fifty and added 71 for the third wicket with Jean-Paul Duminy who made an unbeaten 40-ball 45 after South Africa won the toss and opted to bat.

Du Plessis, who missed South Africa's last game against England because of a slow over-rate suspension, hit five boundaries and two towering sixes as the duo negotiated an Indian spin quartet with aggressive batting.

South Africa lost opener Quinton de Kock (six) in the first over before Hashim Amla and Du Plessis took the score to 44 in the fifth over.

But Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 3-22 in his four overs, put the brakes on South Africa's progress, claiming Amla (22) and then dangerman AB de Villiers (ten) off a miscued pull shot which was smartly held by Rohit Sharma at long leg.

Faf du Plessis
South African captain Faf du Plessis falls to the ground after being clean bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin during the ICC World Twenty20 semi-final match at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on Friday. Pic/AFP

In between du Plessis and Duminy batted with guts to take South Africa to 115 before Ashwin bowled du Plessis off a miscued sweep.

Duminy, who hit three sixes and a four, added another 43 for the unbroken fifth wicket with Andrew Miller (23 not out) to help South Africa add 106 in the last ten overs.

Amit Mishra, India's most successful bowler in the Super-10 stage, went for 36 runs in his three overs without taking a wicket.

India remained unchanged from the side which beat Australia on Tuesday while South Africa brought in du Plessis for Farhan Behardien.

SCOREBOARD:

South Africa:

Q. de Kock c Dhoni b Kumar 6

Hashim Amla b Ashwin 22

F. du Plessis b Ashwin 58

JP Duminy not out 45

AB de Villiers c R. Sharma b Ashwin 10

D. Miller not out 23

Extras: (b1, lb3, w3, nb1) 8

Total (for four wickets, 20 overs) 172

Fall of wickets: 1-9 (de Kock), 2-44 (Amla), 3-115 (du Plessis), 4-129 (de Villiers).

Bowling: Kumar 4-0-33-1 (w1), M. Sharma 3-0-34-0, Ashwin 4-0-22-3 (w1), Jadeja 2-0-8-0, Raina 4-0-35-0 (w1), Mishra 3-0-36-0 (nb1)

 

India:

R. Sharma c du Plessis b Hendricks 24

A. Rahane c de Villiers b Parnell 32

V. Kohli not out 72

Y. Singh c de Villiers b Tahir 18

S. Raina c du Plessis b Hendricks 21

M. Dhoni not out 0

Extras: (w9) 9

Total (for four wickets, 19.1 overs) 176

Fall of wickets: 1-39 (R. Sharma), 2-77 (Rahane), 3-133 (Singh), 4-167 (Raina).

Bowling: Duminy 3-0-29-0 (w1), A. Morkel 2-0-17-0, Steyn 3.1-0-36-0 (w2), Hendricks 4-0-31-2 (w3), Parnell 3-0-33-1 (w2), Tahir 4-0-30-1 (w1).

 

India won by six wickets

Toss: South Africa

Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI) and Ian Gould (ENG)

TV umpire: Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

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