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This Post is a long description of the match, so in short here is the summary-
India – 153/5
South Africa – 116/9
Result: India won the match by 37 runs and qualified to the semi finals as group toppers with a net run rate of 0.75. New Zealand manage to qualify with a net run rate of 0.05.I never thought it would be enough but it was as compared to South Africa’s net run rate of –0.12.
Man Of The Match: Rohit Sharma for his 50 from 40 balls and excellent fielding.
The Super 8 match between India and South Africa was a complete thriller. India had to win this one to reach the semi finals. Pakistan and Australia from Group F, booked their place in the semis. Pakistan qualified as group toppers and Australia defeated Sri Lanka in a virtual quarterfinal. Nothing was certain in Group E.
India won the toss and elected to bat first. Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini gave the Indian batsmen a few problems by taking 3 quick wickets in 4 balls. I had a feeling that th pitch had something for the bowlers. India managed to score 153/5 thanks to MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma, a youngster who got 50 off 40 balls. They helped India to get to a decent score.
South Africa, a team, which is known for it’s fielding, had trouble in the field. Johnty Rhodes had a tough time noting down all the poor fielding efforts. That helped India get to 153. This meant that South Africa needed 126 to advance to the Semi Finals.
Indian bowlers had to do a good job to win this one. I, being the greatest optimist as far as Indian cricket is concerned had a feeling that they might just manage to do it. Sreesanth had a tough job in the first and third over as he found it difficult to control the swing of the ball. However, RP Singh managed to get two wickets off his first over. Sreesanth also bagged one early into the South African innings.
Rohit Sharma continued to have a great day as he hit a direct hit at the stumps to get Justin Kemp out in the 16th over. South Africa had made just 30 runs by that time. I just finished writing the preceding line when in the same over RP Singh got another wicket. He bowled Pollock out and the score was 31/5. 12 wides had been bowled which meant that despite of India’s efforts to help South Africa, they couldn’t capitalise.
After the 5th wicket what mattered was 126 and 142.South Africa needed 126 to reach the semis as 2nd team and 142 to qualify as group toppers. The situation was very funny for a New Zealand fan. During the Indian innings they were supporting South Africa and during the South African innings, after the loss of 5 quick wickets they were supporting India and were hoping that South Africa end up with a score less than 125.
South Africa continued to have a tough time as Irfan Pathan built on the pressure created by RP Singh. After 10 overs South Africa were 48/5 and required 78 runs from 60 balls to qualify to the semis. I was enjoying myself sitting in front of a 29’ SONY WEGA TV with an IBM laptop.
When the fast bowlers were done with their 3 of their overs it was time for Harbhajan Singh to bowl. He was hit for 15 off his 1st over. Since Dhoni had a backache, Karthick was in control of things behind the stumps. This also meant that Dhoni had an option of bowling. That could be interesting. He once bowled in a test match against Pakistan and his hair was everywhere.
South Africa reached 100 with 21 balls remaining. South Africa needed 26 off 21 balls and boom Sreesanth gets another wicket. Boucher played a ball onto his stumps and for a few moments nobody realised that the bails were knocked off. The South African score was 100/6. Harbhajan Singh dismissed a desperate South African tail-ender as a result of a great stumping by Karthick.
Victory was impossible for South Africa. They required 20 runs off the last 2 overs to qualify for the semis. I was on my feet for the last 2 overs. The only problem was that India would now have to face Australia in the semi finals. India was determined to eliminate South Africa.
Albie Morkel fell to RP Singh, bowled in the 19th over. Their score was 109/8 with 8 balls remaining. They scored 1 run off the next 2 balls. South Africa needed 17 runs off the last over by Harbahajan Singh. The details ball by ball-
1st ball: Single
2nd ball: Another single
3rd ball: Dot Ball and South Africa need 15 more runs
4th ball: Stumped; South Africa- 111/9
5th ball: Ntini hits a four
6th ball: Ah! The last ball, Ntini gets a single
India has qualified for the semi finals by defeating South Africa by 37 runs. India face Australia in the semi final on Saturday at Durban. Pakistan will take on fortunate New Zealand.
By the way, this might be the longest post ever to be posted on my blog. The ICC World Twenty20 has facilitated this. I simply love this form of the game and feel eager to make posts everyday as new records and unexpected results are a common feature of it.