Clinical India marches into semi-finals

Virat Kohli, ODIs

A disciplined performance with ball, bat and in the field by the title defenders India has propelled them into the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at The Oval on Sunday (June 11).

After being sent in to bat by Virat Kohli under rare blue London skies, South Africa could only manage a below-par 191 — a total that proved far too insufficient for India’s star-studded batting line-up in the end — owing to three calamitous run-outs and a collapse that saw them lose last 8 of their wickets for only 51 runs. Quinton de Kock top-scored with 53, his 14th ODI half-century, while Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis made 35 and 36 respectively.

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At one stage, South Africa were poised at 2-140 before chaos violently halted South Africa’s progress. A tight single to point attempted by Du Plesses proved fatal for the Proteas skipper, who was caught short of his ground as MS Dhoni’s lightning quick hands rattled the stumps. Five balls later, a horrible mix-up resulted in David Miller’s wicket, with both batsmen ended up running towards the same end.

From then on, it was all India as South Africa’s last five batters could only add 15 more runs to total, with all five India’s bowlers picking up at least one wicket.

In reply, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli combined for a 128-run stand after the early fall of Rohit Sharma to comfortably eclipse South Africa’s tally of 191 with a whopping 33 balls to spare. Dhawan continued his love affair with the Champions Trophy with another solid 78, while Kohli scored an unbeaten 76.

India will now likely play Bangladesh in Birmingham on Thursday (June 15) in a semi-final encounter.

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Match Summary:

India 193 for 2 ( Shikhar Dhawan 78, Virat Kohli 76*) beat South Africa 191 (Quinton De Kock 53, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2-23, Jasprit Bumah 2-28) by 8 wickets

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Captains’ Comments:

“A good toss to win, the wicket didn’t change too much. A decent wicket to bat on. The fielkders backed our bowlers. The opportunity comes your way, you have to grab it. Always good to get him out early, he can always hurt you (AB de Villiers). We wanted to step up that intensity. Important for someone to bat till the end, but Shikhar’s intent was outstanding. This is probably our best game we played so far. We played in Birmingham, we like that pitch, suits our game. No looking back. Always room for improvement, always small point you can improve on, can’t rest on your laurels.” Virat Kohli, captain India, said.

“Not an ideal way to finish. Credit to them in those first 15-20 overs, put the pressure on us, we normally don’t bat that way. We never got going, very sad obviously, We were hoping to play a better game of cricket. Came unstuck against a better team. Couldn’t it get away. A lot of soft dismissals.” AB de Villiers, captain South Africa, said.