14 years, 5 Champions Trophies, 5 World Cups and 4 World T20s since South Africa last won a knockout match at an ICC event and that has not changed. Neither has the fact that India haven’t lost a semi-final under MS Dhoni‘s captaincy. It took a brilliant bowling performance by R. Ashwin and a usual routine genius batting display by Virat Kohli to see India through to the finals of the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.
Having set a target of 173, South Africa seemed in command of the game after the first 20 overs of the game after winning the toss and bat first. Thanks to the exploits of Faf du Plessis, South Africa scored at a brisk rate and that had India under pressure in the innings break.
South Africa captain Faf du Plesis hit a quick fifty and stitched up a 71-run partnership with JP Duminy to steer South Africa to 172 for four in 20 overs. Du Plesis got to his 58 in 41 balls with five fours and two sixes. Even Ashwin’s sparkling 3/22 could not help India much as the other bowlers were mostly ineffective. Duminy led the charge in the end, hitting a four and three huge sixes.
It was a good start for the Indians with Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane making sure that the run-out was always matching the required rate. Rohit Sharma after a promising start threw away his wicket being caught at mid-off.
Once again after Rohit Sharma fell, Virat Kohli took over the reins and started slowly gathering pace. He was in no hurry, took his singles, masterfully converted it to doubles and then when the run-rate was calling, he started scoring boundaries at will. Virat Kohli was supported well first by Rahane and then a decent innings by Yuvraj Singh.
Raina followed in after Yuvraj’s dismissal and changed the course of the game completely with the a 17-run over which all-but-sure decided the fate of the match. Raina though got caught with half a dozen runs to win and Dhoni walked in but decided not to hit the winning runs and letting Virat Kohli finish it off in the final over against Dale Steyn.
So it’s a repeat final from the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup at Wankade stadium which the Indians famously won. But this time it’s the shorter version and the Sri Lankas look a lot more confident and upbeat about their chances. As a cricket fan, this is going to be one great final, between the two best teams in this tournament and it promises to be a cracker this Sunday.