PERTH: For India, it wasn’t the trampoline of a field or Lungi Ngidi‘s exceptional decimation of the top order, or even their use of spin, which would have led to South Africa’s five-wicket win, but for some crucial mistakes in the field at crucial times.
In the final analysis, the biggest moment of the match came when Virat Kohli Aiden dropped Mark frame off Ashwin, on the fifth ball of the 12th over.
TALL CARD | AS IT HAPPENED | POINTS TABLE
In a small chase on a dangerous batting pitch, a wicket here and the game could have turned India’s way. Both bowler and fielder stared at each other in shell-shock for a few seconds, both knowing that T20 is a game of probability and chance, before Ashwin raised his arms in exasperation and Kohli allowed himself a wry, embarrassed smile.
The moment passed, but there were other costly lapses: Rohit Sharma missed an easy run-out chance in the 13th over Mohammed Shami, the captain’s underarm effort goes awry with all three stumps in sight. With the match slipping away fast, there was another confusion between Hardik Pandya and Kohli in the deep summed up India’s day.
Markram (52 from 41; 6×4, 1×6) finally pulled one more in the 16th over, chipping to Suryakumar at deep mid-wicket off Pandya. By then, SA had taken the lead from the contest and were in a chase of 134.
Markram’s 76 run fourth wicket partnership with David Miller (56 not out; 46b, 4×4, 3×6) was crucial in this low-scoring match as South Africa finally got home with two balls to spare. The result was at least a few balls before it was a foregone conclusion.
Miller and Markram’s determined effort helped South Africa top their group and avoid any pitfalls after their pacemen disrupted the run flow of India’s leading batsmen. Their partnership also completely overshadowed a superb counter-attack from Suryakumar Yadav (68 off 40; 6×4, 3×6) after Ngidi’s four-wicket blitz knocked the wind out of India’s sails.
Suryakumar rolled, pressed and parried with the punches and even delivered some mighty blows of his own as the formidable SA pace battery, and the fire of a pitch, conspired to throw a lethal cocktail of bounce and pace at India .
It was probably the best knock of his T20 career, and certainly came in the most difficult of circumstances. Suryakumar was head and shoulders above the rest of his batting mates after Rohit elected to bat first in the second match of the day on this pitch.
Only SKY’s brilliance stood between respectability and ignominy as Lungi Ngidi came up big on one top-order batsman after another, picking up four wickets to send India reeling and stunned at 49/5 in 8.3 overs. Ngidi used the heavy ball and the steep bounce well to break India’s back before Suryakumar’s counter-attacking flair ensured they raced to a somewhat jaw-dropping total.
India dropped Axar Patel and included Deepak Hoodaonly the seventh time in all the T20Is that they have gone into the top seven without a left-hander, but it didn’t make much difference in the final analysis.
T20 World Cup: South Africa beat India to top Group 2