India stormed into the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy after crushing South Africa by eight wickets in their virtual quarter-final clash on Sunday at the Oval. Three run-outs derailed South Africa when they batted first and they limped to only 191 which India chased down with ease, losing only two wickets and with 12 overs in hand.
After being put in to bat by Virat Kohli, South Africa’s openers got off to a steady, if sluggish start, thanks to some tight bowling by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. The 50-run partnership came in 13 overs with Amla unusually slow. He did try and break the shackles with a six and four off Pandya but it was Ravichandran Ashwin, into the team for Umesh Yadav, broke the partnership when he had Amla edging behind for 35 with South Africa on 76/1.
The other spinner also took out Quinton de Kock’s stumps after a solid fifty which brought out No 1-ranked AB de Villiers to the crease. Faf du Plessis and De Villiers looked in good touch and got some of the momentum back into South Africa’s innings in a partnership of 24. At 140/2 at 28.1 overs, they looked good to unleash before disaster struck.
First, du Plessis underestimated Hardik Pandya’s arm and ran out his partner de Villiers for a fluent 12-ball 16. Then, in a comedy of errors, du Plessis and David Miller found themselves at the same end in another disastrous run-out as South Africa shockingly slipped to 142/4. Du Plessis seemed dazed by the twin run-outs and played on to his stumps for 36 soon after.
South Africa fell away after that losing wickets in a heap as they collapsed to 191 all out in 41.3 overs with the last wicket of Imran Tahir fittingly a run-out. Kumar and Bumrah were among the wickets at the end with two apiece.
India’s chase was never troubled despite an early wicket of Rohit Sharma for 12. Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada bowled well but Shikhar Dhawan was never troubled, stroking his way to his third straight half-century in ICC tournaments. The Indian left-hander looked in pristine touch, set to get another century but finally holed out right at the end to Imran Tahir, skying a catch to du Plessis for 78.
Virat Kohli also had an edgy start but unfurled his dazzling array of strokes to get going to a fifty on his own. To his credit, he never got bogged down, giving enough strike to a fluent Dhawan at the other end, as the two put on 128 in 24.4 overs to break the back of the chase and easily book a place in the semis.
South Africa 191 all out in 41.3 overs (Quinton de Kock 53, Faf du Plessis 36; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/23, Jasprit Bumrah 2/28) lost to India 193/2 in 38 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 78, Virat Kohli 76 not out; Imran Tahir 1/37, Morne Morkel 1/38) by eight wickets