India Pull Off One-Run Win But Fail To Qualify

India Pull Off One-Run Win But Fail To Qualify
India Pull Off One-Run Win But Fail To Qualify
©REUTERS / Action Images

India 152-6 (Raina 45) beat
South Africa 151 (du Plessis 65) by 1 run
ICC WT20 2012 Super Eight Group 2, Colombo
Report by Chetan Narula in Colombo

India beat South Africa by one run in the last Super Eights match at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo although despite the victory India couldn't qualify for the semi-finals.

Australia and Pakistan progressed from the group, the latter moving ahead on net run-rate. South Africa were already knocked out earlier in the day when Pakistan beat Australia by 32 runs.

South Africa won the toss and put India in. On this night, the 2007 champions needed to score big and they got off to a decent start. Gautam Gambhir (8) and Virender Sehwag (17) put up 23 runs, before Morne Morkel bowled Gambhir in the fourth over.

Virat Kohli (2) for once suffered a rare failure and India were soon down to 36 for three when Sehwag was bowled trying to hit Robin Peterson for a second six in the sixth over. He made 17 runs off 14 balls, with one four and one six.

Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh steadied things with a 32-run stand for the fourth wicket. The two settled in easily, rotating strike and Yuvraj started going for the big shots soon. He hit two sixes and one four in his 15-ball stay, scoring 21 runs.

Morne Morkel returned to clean bowl him in the 10th over and at halfway, India were 68 for four. Sharma then added 44 runs for the fifth wicket with Suresh Raina, who top scored for the men in blue with 45 runs. His runs came off 35 balls and included five boundaries, as he accelerated the scoring towards the end of the innings.

That happened in Mahendra Singh Dhoni's company after Sharma departed for 25 runs. Dhoni and Raina added 40 runs for the sixth wicket, the Indian captain making an unbeaten 23 off 13 balls, including three fours. India finished with 152 for six in their allotted overs, as Peterson (2-25) and Morne Morkel (2-28) were South Africa's best bowlers.

South Africa needed 153 to win, but India had an even smaller target of 121 runs to defend if they were qualify for the semis and they made a fantastic start when Zaheer Khan bowled Hashim Amla for a duck.

Jacques Kallis (6) was sent packing by Irfan Pathan in the fourth over and the score was 16 for two. AB de Villiers (13) promoted himself up the order for once and added 30 runs with Faf du Plessis for the third wicket. He was cleaned up by Yuvraj Singh and then du Plessis added 49 runs with JP Duminy.

Du Plessis coming back into the playing eleven at the expense of Richard Levi had a point to prove and went on to top score for his side, with 65 runs off only 38 balls, including six fours and two sixes. After he fell in the 13th over, Duminy (16) followed shortly afterward in the 15th over, with the score at 107 for five and giving India false hope.

Farhaan Behardien (13) and Peterson (10) made sure of that when India were eventually knocked out of the tournament in the seventeenth over.

Despite that Zaheer (3-22) and Lakshmipathy Balaji (3-37) bowled tightly in the end overs and pulled back the match from South Africa's grip. Zaheer accounted for both Behardien and Peterson, while Johan Botha (8) was dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin (1-27).

Balaji then dismissed the Morkel brothers, Albie (10) and Morne (6), in the last over to bowl India to a narrow win.

In the first semi-final on Thursday, Sri Lanka will take on Pakistan, while on Friday, in the second semi-final, Australia will clash with West Indies. Both matches will take place in Colombo.

© Cricket World 2012

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