The match between Australia and Pakistan ended meekly for Australia, as they surrendered to the spin quad of Afridi, Ajmal, Hasan and Hafeez. This win was a shock for the Indian fans, as it ensured that their side had their task cut out. The match between India and South Africa was played at the R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, the conditions were fairly slow and the weather quite humid. The toss was won by the Proteas, who asked India to bat first.
The batting was opened by Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, while Dale Steyn started South Africa’s bowling. India started off well, making 23 runs of 3 overs without losing any wicket. Morkel however struck in the fourth over, removing Gambhir for eight runs. The danger man Kohli walked in next, having made a brilliant 78 in the run chase against Pakistan only two days back. However, disaster struck when India lost two quick wickets in the form of Kohli and Sehwag. Kohli was the first to go when he edged one to the keeper off the bowling of Kallis down the legside. Sehwag, after hitting a wonderful six off Peterson, got bowled off the very next ball when he stepped out and tried to hit him again. Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina walked in next and tried to build the innings by playing cautiously, putting up a partnership of about 50 before Sharma was trapped in front of the wicket by Peterson for 25. Dhoni walked in next, and along with Raina hit some wonderful shots to take the team to 152 at the end of 20 overs. Raina got run out on the last ball of the match for 45 off 34, while Dhoni remained not out on 23 off 13. The wickets were shared betwenn Morkel (2) and Peterson (2).
Indians were in a spot of trouble, and had a huge task ahead of them. They needed to get South Africa out for under 121 if they had to qualify. The South Africa opened their batting with Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis, while India started with experienced campaigner Zaheer Khan. The fast bowler immediately got a breakthrough, as Amla was caught at the slips for naught. AB de Villiers walked in next, and he put up a partnership with Kallis before the latter departed in the fourth over after making just six. The next man in was Faf du Plessis. He along with De Villiers built a very good partnership and put India under pressure. Du Plessis’ strike rate was up at almost 200, which caused panic in the Indian ranks.He was hitting the ball very well and was putting pressure on the Indian bowlers.
Yuvraj Singh came into bowl next, and removed De Villiers in his very first ball for 13. But Faf du Plessis kept the innings going with some extraordinary hitting. Duminy was playing the second fiddle to him while not scoring much, but things took a turn for the worse for the Proteas when Du Plessis got to Yuvraj Singh in the 13th over.The others kept the match going only in bits, and could not make a notable contribution. South Africa needed 14 off the last over, but dispatched Balaji for a six on the very first ball. Balaji however came back to pick up Albie Morkel’s wicket the very next ball. Morne Morkel walked in for the last wicket, and he too got out after hitting a huge six. India won the match by one run, but still got knocked out of the tournament. The wickets were shared between Z.Khan (3), Balaji (3), and Yuvraj (2).
The Indian did do well to score a victory. Yuvraj Singh won the man of the match for his all-round performances. They played well, but couldn’t make the semi final even after winning four out of the five matches they played, while South Africa were knocked out without winning a single match in the Super Eights. Australia and Pakistan go through from this group, while Srilanka and West Indies go through from the other group.