Aiden Markram and David Miller steered South Africa through a tricky run chase in Perth after Arshdeep Singh’s early strikes put India back into the game. This result has big implications for the rest of the group, particularly Pakistan, whose semi-final hopes are hanging by a thread.
South Africa’s win means that not only do Pakistan have to beat South Africa on Thursday but also hope either India lose to Bangladesh and Zimbabwe or South Africa are defeated by the Netherlands.
India’s five-wicket defeat against South Africa in a Group 2 Super 12 game at the T20 World Cup has pushed Pakistan to the brink of elimination. Pakistan needed India to beat South Africa to keep its faint hopes alive.
As it happened
India got off to a rocky start after opting to bat first with the South Africa quicks enjoying the pace and bounce in Perth. While Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul pummelled a six apiece early on, Ngidi sent back Rohit with a short ball that hurried up the Indian skipper and found the top edge off the pull.
Rahul fell soon after, edging Ngidi to the slip cordon in the same over to depart for nine. Virat Kohli got into groove with a fine drive followed by a flick, both racing away for boundaries, but he fell on the pull too, top edging Lungi Ngidi to Rabada in the deep.
Kohli, though, completed 1000 runs in the T20 World Cup, becoming the first after Mahela Jayawardene and the first Indian to the milestone. But the milestone was overshadowed by stop India’s struggles against the searing pace of the South African quicks.
Deepak Hooda, who had come in for Axar Patel, fell to Anrich Nortje and India found themselves in a similar situation to that against Pakistan – at 42/4 in the 8th over. Hardik Pandya followed in the next over as they lost half the side with just 49 runs on the board.
Suryakumar Yadav led the recovery, establishing his authority over the bowlers in typical fashion. Even as the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Ravichandran Ashwin took time to settle down, Yadav continued at a frenetic pace, leading India’s recovery and getting their total up to respectable levels. He completed his ninth half-century of the year in this format to help India to 133/9 in 20 overs, falling only in the penultimate over of the innings after making a terrific 68 off just 40 balls.
It was evident that this Perth wicket wasn’t going to be easy for the batters and Arshdeep gave it back when he sent back Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw, fresh off back-to-back T20I tons, in his first over.
There was no recovery early on for South Africa as Bavuma’s struggles continued. At 24/3, South Africa needed a strong recovery and Aiden Markram provided that with a composed innings helped by a steady David Miller at the other end.
At the 10-over mark, South Africa had only gotten to 40, but importantly hadn’t lost further wickets. Markram and Miller stepped up after the break to take 16 runs off Hardik Pandya’s over and then piled on runs against Ashwin too to bring the required run rate down.
Markram completed a fine half-century, playing some exquisite shots along the way and helped by a dropped catch from Kohli and a missed run-out chance by Rohit. but he fell shortly afterwards, mistiming a pull off Pandya.
The equation had eased by this stage with the partnership putting South Africa on course for a win. But there was more drama in store with Ashwin sending back Tristan Stubbs in the 18th over after David Miller hit a couple of sixes off him.
With Shami delivering a terrific penultimate over, South Africa needed six runs off the last over and Miller, now past his fifty, off strike. However, with Miller back on strike, Bhuvneshwar got his bouncer off radar and conceded a four off Miller’s gloves and South Africa completed a tense win to top the table in Group 2.