The Protea pacers led by Lungi Ngidi produced a fierce bowling performance that took their side to the top in Group 2, dethroning India from the No.1 position.
Riding high on confidence after two consecutive wins, India were outplayed by the Proteas in Perth on a pitch that clearly favored the fiery South African batsmen.
The Indian bowlers did try to make a match out of a low-scoring game but Aiden Markram and David Miller ensured that the Proteas crossed the finish line comfortably.
Here’s a look at some of the key moments from India’s first loss of the ongoing tournament:
1) Rohit wins the toss and bats first – Playing their first match of the tournament on the fast Optus Stadium wicket in Perth, Rohit Sharma won a crucial toss and surprisingly elected to bat first. With the cold weather and the pitch helping the pacers, Rohit’s decision came as a bit of a surprise. However, the Indian captain said during the toss that it was a good surface and the team knew what to expect and what to do on the field.
2) Ngidi tore apart the top order – At the 4-over mark, India were 21 for no loss and both openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were settling in. But then Lungi Ngidi came in and rattled India completely in the fifth over of the innings, removing both Rohit and Rahul. the same over. An over later he also claimed the big wicket of the in-form Virat Kohli as India found themselves at 41 for 3.
3) India lose half their team in 9 overs – After Lungi Ngidi’s triple hit, Anrich Nortje got rid of World Cup debutant Deepak Hooda for a duck and Ngidi then dismissed Hardik Pandya as India reeled at 51 for five in 9 overs. With the bounce that the pitch offered and the Proteas skits bowling with their tails, the Indian batsmen looked clueless against the fiery South African pace attack. With half their team back in the pavilion before the 10th over, it was always going to be tough for India to recover from there.
4) Surya, the lone warrior – As the wickets kept tumbling at the other end, Suryakumar Yadav was the only man standing for his team, scoring 68 while others found it difficult to bat. The middle, lower-middle order and the tailenders did absolutely nothing as India crawled to 133 for 9 in their prescribed 20 overs.
5) Bowlers not capitalizing on early successes – As South Africa starting their chase of 134, Indian pacers also used the new ball and conditions to perfection, rattled the Proteas right at the start and took them to 24 for 3 in power play with Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Shami causing the damage. But then Aiden Markram and David Miller stitched a stunning 76-run partnership for the fourth wicket and steadily took the game away from India.
6) The catch dropped Virat Kohli and Rohit’s missed run-out chance – In the 12th and 13th overs, India got two opportunities to get rid of the set Aiden Markram, but could not take it. While Virat Kohli dropped a doll in the deep which left bowler Ashwin R Ashwin completely taken aback, in the very next over, built by Mohammed Shami, Rohit missed the easiest of chances which provided Markram with two lifelines.
7) Killer Miller – While India eventually managed to get rid of Aiden Markram for 52, Rohit Sharma and co. had no answer to the clever batting displayed by the experienced David Miller. He first allowed Markram to go after the Indian bowlers after the halfway mark, while he himself played sensibly and then after Markram’s departure took matters into his own hands, settled and comfortably took South Africa over the finish line with two balls to spare.