Imperious India storm into fifth Champions Trophy SF with 8-wicket win

India out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded South Africa and stormed into their fifth semi-final in the history of Champions Trophy, the hitherto ICC Knockout Trophy. South Africa choked once again on a big day and have been knocked out of Champions Trophy 2017. India, who will finish top of Group B, will face the runner-up in Group A, Bangladesh, in the second semi-final on Thursday (June 15). Jasprit Bumrah was awarded what was his maiden man-of-the-match award for his figures of 2/28 in eight overs.

A clinical chase

Shikhar Dhawan (78, 12×4 and 1×6) and Virat Kohli (76*, 7×4 and 1×6) struck solid half-centuries in a small but tricky 192-run chase, particularly against a potent South African pace battery, and led their team to an easy eight-wicket win.

Runs were a little hard to come by for India at the start of their chase, with Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel unsettling India’s top three with pace and bounce and bowling tight lines and lengths. Because the South African new-ball bowlers bowled at pace and the bounce off the pitch was true, Dhawan, Kohli and even Rohit, who made 12 (1×4 and 1×6), were able to stroke the ball to the boundary if it was slightly wayward and carried no harm to their stumps. And the ball did speed away off their blades. Dhawan and Rohit hit a six each off Morkel and Rabada, respectively, in the first five overs. 

Rohit self-destructed by being too adventurous. He tried to give himself room and went leg-side of the ball, trying to hit it over the infield on the off-side. Morkel, not the one to be out-witted, followed Rohit and got the outside edge through to Quinton de Kock.

Kohli joined Dhawan in the middle and struggled for timing early on. He mishit a lot of deliveries, even those which he only defended but gradually gathered momentum as his innings progressed. Dhawan, at the other end, was imperiousness personified, bludgeoning the South African bowlers to all corners of the ground and taking India closer to their target of 192. Seldom in his international career has Dhawan looked as assured as he has in the three innings so far in this tournament. With India needing 41 for victory, Dhawan, batting on 78 then, chanced his arm against Imran Tahir and holed out at long-off.

Yuvraj Singh joined Kohli in the middle and struggled a touch against Tahir and JP Duminy’s spin. But with the latter dragging the last ball of the 38th over halfway down the pitch, Yuvraj pulled Duminy over mid-wicket for a six and took India over the line, finishing on 23* (1×4 and 1×6) himself.

Sedate South African start

The Proteas’ slow and watchful start to proceedings wasn’t entirely surprising, given the stakes at play. But with the Indian new-ball bowlers barely getting any assistance from the pitch, Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla had no reason to play within themselves for the length of time they did. The first powerplay produced only 35 runs, with de Kock and Amla finding the boundary only thrice while just two fielders were allowed outside the ring.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah provided India the control, having seen that the ball didn’t swing in the air or off the surface. Going in search of swing and bowling full will have been a mistake that these two bowlers didn’t commit. Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah bowled back of a length and a stump to stump line, denying de Kock and Amla opportunities to free their arms and score front or square of the wicket on either side.

India, through their bowlers, won the first phase of this match, though they will have been disappointed to not dismiss at least one of the two South African openers. Virat Kohli had two opportunities to run de Kock and Amla out, and Pandya put down a caught and bowled chance provided by the right-hander.

The critical phase

Given how one-day cricket is played these days, the South Africans had to make a move sooner or later. And Amla assumed the role of the aggressor in the opening partnership. He became proactive and started manoeuvring the ball better. The innings 50 came in the 13th over and the Proteas will have been content with the start. Amla flicked Pandya over mid-wicket for a six on the first ball of the 15th over and a four off the penultimate ball of the same over, to give the South African innings some momentum.

Surely the most important phase of this innings was going to be when Ravichandran Ashwin, who was brought into the side in place of Umesh Yadav, and Hardik Pandya came on to bowl. For, Ashwin is making a comeback after a fair time out of action and Hardik is the sort of bowler who batting teams can go after. Ashwin did not make an instant impact, having been introduced into the attack in the 10th over, but he provided them with the vital breakthrough of Amla in the 17th over. Trying to cut Ashwin through point, Amla outside-edged a slider through to MS Dhoni.

Faf du Plessis walked in with the score at 76/1 and infused urgency into proceedings. He was intent on scoring off every ball and this mindset rubbed off on his batting partners. The spread out field helped the South African batsmen rotate strike and at least score a run off every ball, while finding the odd boundary. As a result, the run rate started to nudge five runs per over and the one-time winners of this competition were slowly gaining a foothold in this match.

De Kock, though, didn’t find his fluency and batted as if he had to score only on the on-side. With an unconventional batting grip that limits him from scoring on the off-side, the wicketkeeper-batsman tried to work almost every ball onto the leg-side and in a way self-destructed himself. Looking to sweep Jadeja from outside the off stump, de Kock missed what was a fullish delivery and was bowled.

Just when South Africa started to get going and the runs started to come a little freely, they lost de Kock, who was out for a 72-ball 53 (4×4).

Suicidal from South Africa

This was a high-pressure match, the kind which has time and again gotten the better of South Africa. They have not won a major ODI tournament since winning the 1998 ICC Knockout Trophy, so the Proteas were under greater pressure. And what we saw from the 29th over onwards was a complete hara-kiri from the No. 1 ODI side.

With players as experienced as AB de Villiers and du Plessis are, the expectation is they handle pressure situations better. The one that de Villiers had walked into wasn’t even a tense, pressure situation. South Africa were 130/2 and the innings needed consolidating.

But one moment of panic and indecision from two of South Africa’s key batsmen and the innings began to fall apart. Du Plessis had played a forward defence to Jadeja and the ball travelled relatively quickly to the man at point inside the ring, Hardik. Du Plessis, having hit the ball, took off for a single while de Villiers hesitated slightly. Hardik gathered the ball cleanly and threw at a nice height and in close proximity to the stumps, for Dhoni to collect and dislodge the bails easily. De Villiers was well short of the crease.

South Africa were still in a very good position, at 140/3 and with 40 percent of the innings to be played yet.

The Proteas, though, failed to get another partnership going and the entire innings came apart. The final seven South African wickets fell for just 51 runs and in a matter of 97 balls. Make no mistake, the Indian bowlers bowled disciplined lines and lengths throughout and India produced their best fielding performance of the tournament so far, affecting three run outs and providing ample support to the bowlers. The likes of Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo and Kagiso Rabada, who are good lower order batsmen, failed to occupy the crease and support Jean-Paul Duminy, who was the last man standing.

Ravindra Jadeja was back to doing what he does best, choking up the runs and inducing errors off the batsmen by building up pressure. Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar didn’t offer many loose deliveries and helped in polishing off the tail. Hardik Pandya was the most expensive of the Indian bowlers, conceding 52 runs in his 10 overs. But he prised out du Plessis with an off-cutter that the South African right-hander chopped onto his stumps.

India vs South Africa, CT 2017 11th match scorecard

Playing XIs

India: 1. Virat Kohli (c), 2. Rohit Sharma, 3. Shikhar Dhawan, 4. Yuvraj Singh, 5. MS Dhoni (wk), 6. Kedar Jadhav, 7. Ravindra Jadeja, 8. Ravichandran Ashwin, 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10. Hardik Pandya, and 11. Jasprit Bumrah

South Africa: 1. AB de Villiers (c), 2. Quinton de Kock (wk), 3. Hashim Amla, 4. Faf du Plessis, 5. Jean-Paul Duminy, 6. David Miller, 7. Chris Morris, 8. Andile Phehlukwayo, 9. Kagiso Rabada, 10. Morne Morkel, and 11. Imran Tahir

Scores

South Africa: 191/10 (de Kock 53; Bhuvneshwar 2/23 and Bumrah 2/28)
India: 193/2 (Dhawan 78 and Kohli 76*; Tahir 1/37)

South Africa innings (toss: India, who chose to bowl first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Quinton de Kock bowled Jadeja 53 (72) 4 0 73.61
Hashim Amla caught Dhoni, bowled Ashwin 35 (54) 3 1 64.81
Faf du Plessis bowled Pandya 36 (50) 1 0 72.00
AB de Villiers run out by Pandya/Dhoni 16 (12) 1 0 133.33
David Miller run out by Bumrah/Kohli 1 (3) 0 0 33.33
Jean-Paul Duminy not out 20 (41) 1 0 48.78
Chris Morris caught Bhuvneshwar, bowled Bumrah 4 (8) 0 0 50.00
Andile Phehlukwayo leg before wicket Bumrah 4 (11) 0 0 36.36
Kagiso Rabada caught Dhoni, bowled Bhuvneshwar 5 (8) 1 0 62.50
Morne Morkel caught Kohli, bowled Bhuvneshwar 0 (1) 0 0 0.00
Imran Tahir run out by Kohli/Dhoni 1 (7) 0 0 14.28
Extras: 16 (10 wides and 6 leg byes)
South Africa’s total: 191/10 in 44.3 overs, at 4.29 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 76/1 (Amla, 17.3), 116/2 (de Kock, 24.2), 140/3 (de Villiers, 28.2), 142/4 (Miller, 29.1), 157/5 (du Plessis, 33.3), 167/6 (Morris, 36.4), 178/7 (Phehlukwayo, 40.1), 184/8 (Rabada, 42.2), 184/9 (Morkel, 42.3), and 191/10 (Tahir, 44.3)
India bowling
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken  Economy rate
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 7.3 0 23 2 3.06
Jasprit Bumrah 8 0 28 2 3.50
Ravichandran Ashwin 9 0 43 1 4.77
Hardik Pandya 10 0 52 1 5.20
Ravindra Jadeja 10 0 39 1 3.90
India innings (target: 192 in 50 overs, at 3.84 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Rohit Sharma caught de Kock, bowled Morkel 12 (20) 1 1 60.00
Shikhar Dhawan caught du Plessis, bowled Tahir 78 (83) 12 1 93.97
Virat Kohli not out 76 (101) 7 1 75.24
Yuvraj Singh not out 23 (25) 1 1 92.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Jasprit Bumrah
Extras: 4 (1 no-ball, 1 wide and 2 leg byes)
India’s total: 193/2 in 38 overs, at 5.07 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 23/1 (Rohit, 5.3) and 151/2 (Dhawan, 30.1)
South Africa bowling
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken  Economy rate
Kagiso Rabada 9 2 34 0 3.77
Morne Morkel 7 1 38 1 5.42
Andile Phehlukwayo 5 0 25 0 5.00
Chris Morris 8 0 40 0 5.00
Imran Tahir 6 0 37 1 6.16
JP Duminy 3 0 17 0 5.67

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