Champions Trophy: India beat South Africa, enter semi-final
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Champions Trophy: India beat South Africa, enter semi-final

June 12, 2017

South Africa were quashed mercilessly as India beat them comprehensively by 8 wickets to dump the top-ranked ODI team in the world out of the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy at The Oval in London yesterday.

South Africa have only themselves to blame for another graceless display in a big match as three run-outs, including that of Captain and key-man AB de Villiers, ensured they never stood a chance of challenging the Indians.

The victory means India are likely to face Bangladesh in a mouthwatering semi-final at Birmingham on Thursday. And the primary reason for that victory was South Africa’s suicidal running between the wickets.

Virat Kohli’s decision to field first on a flat Oval track on a bright and sunny London day was a result of the nature of the match and perhaps a lingering memory of their defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka on Thursday last. The Indian captain has reiterated several times the ease of chasing a target rather than having to set one and when he called it right at the toss, Kohli was sure he wanted to chase in the virtual quarter-final.

And that became evident in the way he helped his team chase down a rather small target of 192 runs. South Africa were given an early hope by Rohit Sharma, who decided to let go of his defensive ways early in the innings and attacked a shortish delivery bowled by Morne Morkel, only to edge it straight to Quinton de Kock’s gloves in the sixth over.

Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli gave due respect to the main strike bowling duo of Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel, before opening up against Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo. Dhawan started the charge in the 10th over by hitting Morkel for two back to back boundaries on the off side. Kohli backed him by targeting Phehlukwayo and Morris. There was a chance in 16th over as Phehlukwayo managed to induce an edge out of Kohli, but Hashim Amla’s diving effort went in vain as the ball popped out of his stretched right arm.

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After that it was just about how soon India could topple South Africa’s below par total. Both Dhawan and Kohli mixed caution with aggression and went about pursuing the target with ruthless professionalism, helping each other to half-centuries. Dhawan brought his 19th ODI fifty up in the 24th over with a boundary off Chris Morris, while Virat Kohli completed his 41st ODI fifty in the 28th over. Dhawan departed for 78 in the 31st over, misreading an Imran Tahir googly, but by then the result of the match was a mere formality. The target was achieved on the last delivery of the 38th over itself to bring an end to a rather one-sided affair. Yuvraj Singh smashing Duminy for a maximum to stay unbeaten on 23.

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