India stormed into the final of the ICC World Twenty20 with a resounding six-wicket victory over South Africa, with Virat Kohli once again rising to the occasion with a scintillating unbeaten 76.
Chasing a competitive target of 173, India completed the task with five balls to spare to reach their second World T20 final. The reigning ODI world champion will lock horns with Sri Lanka in the title clash on Sunday. (PHOTOS: Kohli seals emphatic win)
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni deliberately played a dot ball to ensure that the day’s hero get a chance to score the winning stroke off Dale Steyn. (Also Read: Not many who are as consistent as Virat, says Dhoni)
Kohli produced his best T20 international knock when it mattered the most, scoring his runs in just 44 balls and with the help of five fours and two sixes. It was a fantastic knock on a difficult track that was not conducive for stroke-making.
Suresh Raina’s 21 off nine balls was equally important in the final context of the match as India reached the final for the first time since the inaugural edition in South Africa. (Full Coverage: ICC World T20)
Needing 51 off the last five overs, Kohli upped the ante as he smacked Imran Tahir over deep mid-wicket for a huge six to complete his 50 off 35 balls. But Tahir got a break when Yuvraj Singh (18) didn’t get the elevation and A B de Villiers took one of the best catches of the tourney, running from his long-on position.
New man Raina got into the act immediately as he pulled Wayne Parnell behind deep fine leg for a six to bring down the equation. An uppishly played shot through vacant third man and an inside edge meant that Parnell gave away 17 runs. The over proved to be the turning point as India got the equation down to 23 from three overs.
India started the chase with a flurry of boundaries, including three in JP Duminy’s first over. Ajinkya Rahane’s was a backfoot punch through the covers while Rohit Sharma got an edge through slips and banged the next past mid-off as 14 came off the opening over.
Albie Morkel got the new ball from the other end and Rohit’s spanking square cut got him his third boundary. His fourth boundary came when he pulled Morkel over the mid-wicket fielder.
With 23 from two overs, India’s chase was on the right track.
Dale Steyn was promptly brought in and the last ball of his opening over was slashed over point by Rohit for a six.
Not to be left behind, Rahane did the same with left-arm seamer Hendricks.
However, Rohit continued…