World T20: India miss semis berth

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Colombo: India beat South Africa by one run in the final game of the Super Eight stage Tuesday but failed to reach the semifinals of the World Twenty20 Championship due to Pakistan’s superior run-rate.

The match started with Pakistan and Australia both on four points and India on two. Pakistan’s 32-run victory over Australia earlier in the day improved their run-rate drastically and also meant that South Africa were already eliminated from the semis.

But by virtue of a better net-rate than Pakistan, the Aussies qualified for the semis.

India, who also ended with four points, needed to restrict South Africa to 121 or less to qualify for the semis after scoring 152 for six. South Africa lost the match narrowly but put India also out of the tournament by scoring 151 all out in 19.5 overs.

India after being put into bat lost Gautam Gambhir (8) early once again. The left-hander’s poor run in the tournament continued as pacer Morne Morkel castled him in the fourth over.

Virat Kohli (2) looked in sparkling touch but was unlucky to edge Kallis down the leg side with keeper AB de Villiers making no mistake.

A rush of blood costed Virender Sehwag (17) his off-stump on the bowling of Robin Peterson as India were reduced to three for 36.

Yuvraj Singh (21) hit his stride immediately as he struck off-spinner Johan Botha for a six over long-off. The flamboyant southpaw looked to have got his touch back after a lengthy layoff due to a rare germ cell cancer.

With the run-rate on the rise South African captain de Villiers made an astute bowling change bringing Morkel back into the attack. The lanky pacer made an immediate impact getting rid of the dangerous Yuvraj.

Some late fireworks from Suresh Raina, who was India’s top scorer with 45 off 34 balls, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) helped India to a fighting score.

In reply, South Africa lost Hashim Amla (0) on the second ball off Zaheer Khan’s bowling. Jacques Kallis (6) too departed early giving India a realistic chance of qualifying for the semis.

But Faf du Plessis (68), who replaced the out of form Richard Levi, had other plans as he brought the South Africans back in the game.

He raced to a half-century off just 29 balls, all but ending India’s hope of restricting them to 121.

Few quick wickets gave India a glimmer of hope but South Africa held on to cross the required mark knocking India out of the tournament.

South Africa looked to have been coasting to victory but two wickets in the 17th over by Zaheer gave India the inconsequential win.