Kohli Guides India Through To Final
India 176-4 (Kohli 72no, Rahane 32) beat
South Africa 172-4 (du Plessis 58) by 6 wickets
ICC World Twenty20 2014 semi-final, Mirpur
Virat Kohli scored a stunning unbeaten half-century as India beat South Africa by six wickets in the second semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 in Mirpur, Dhaka.
Kohli hit the winning runs to end unbeaten on 72 in 44 balls, ensuring India qualified for Sunday's final against Sri Lanka.
After South Africa had posted an excellent 172 for four, India reached their target with five balls to spare to make it to their first final since they won this competition back in 2007.
It meant that South Africa fell by the wayside at the semi-final stage of a global tournament yet again but on this occasion they could have no complaints; today they were beaten by the better team.
Chasing 173, India got off to a flying start as Rohit Sharma combined with new-partner Ajinkya Rahane, who came in for Shikhar Dhawan.
The duo added 39 runs in less than four overs, with the former doing most of the hitting. Sharma scored 24 runs off only 13 balls, with four fours and one six, as India got off to the desired start.
He then mistimed one off Beuran Hendricks (2-31) and was dismissed in the fourth over, with Kohli then coming to the party. Along with Rahane, he put on 38 runs for the second wicket, as the 50-run mark came up in the fifth over.
Then South Africa applied the brakes and did not concede a boundary until the 10th over. This meant that Rahane felt he was forced to go for a big shot, albeit needlessly since the scoring rate was above the required rate, and he ended up getting caught. He scored 32 runs off 30 balls, with two fours and one six.
Kohli took over from there and brought up his seventh T20I half-century off only 35 balls. He put up 50 runs for the third wicket with Yuvraj Singh (18) as the Indians opened up and got into the chase. The burly left-hander was caught off Imran Tahir thanks to a stupendous diving catch by AB de Villiers.
Suresh Raina (21 in 10 balls) then came to the crease and that is when the tables turned, for the Men in Blue were looking for one big over to gain momentum.
Wayne Parnell (1-33) conceded 17 runs off the 17th over, and despite Raina falling in the penultimate over, Kohli saw them home with consummate ease.
Earlier, South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first. Quinton de Kock (6) continued his poor form in the tournament and was out in the first over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-33), the umpire detecting the faintest of edges.
Hashim Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis then came together and added 35 runs for the second wicket, the latter playing some handsome shots across the ground.
Things seems to be getting out of hand when Ravichandran Ashwin (3-22) came to bowl the final over of the powerplay and bowled Amla with a magical delivery. The batsman scored 22 runs off 16 balls, hitting four fours during his stay.
The captain was then joined by the in-form JP Duminy and together they added 71 runs for the third wicket. They started steadily and then picked up the pace, not letting Amit Mishra (0-36) or Ravindra Jadeja (0-8) settle.
Du Plessis scored his fifth T20I fifty off 36 balls, and in doing so, brought up the 100-run mark for the Proteas in the 13th over. He was out in the next over bowled by Ashwin though, with the ball clipping his jersey on way to breaking stumps, out after scoring 58 runs off 41 balls. He hit five fours and two sixes.
Ashwin then also removed the dangerous looking de Villiers (10) as he kept India in the match with a great spell. Duminy then took over and helped the score past the 150-run mark in the penultimate over.
He was unbeaten on 45 off 40 balls, with one four and three sixes, while David Miller smacked 23 not out off 12 balls, including two fours and one six, to take South Africa to a more-than-competitive total.
However, on this day, and against this outstanding India batting line-up, it was not quite enough.
© Cricket World 2014